Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We have to find a better way to do scientific journals!

There is a very good article by Alok Jha on the crisis in scientific publishing in The Guardian. A few publishers dominate the publishing of major journals, and building on the unpaid submissions of authors, the unpaid reviews of other scientists and the unpaid editorial services of still other scientists these journals are making 35 percent profits. That would be acceptable, but they are slowing the dissemination of scientific results and interfering with data mining techniques which would facilitate the location of useful information in the mass of scientific publications.

There are some important efforts to make scientific publications freely available gratis on the Internet. I think much more needs to be done in this way. It seems to me that governments have to lead although civil society organizations such as foundations can help. We need subsidies for the online publications (there are some unavoidable costs) and leadership to change the scientific culture (such as by requirements for online publication in grants).

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