public money, science, libraries, publishers and open-access - humanist @ roua.org :

public money, science, libraries, publishers and open-access

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Since 1997 I understood that Internet is making publishing on paper obsolete. That, on the assumption that whatever is published is culture, knowledge.

Whatever you see now published on paper is not culture and is not knowledge, is a publishing industry "product".

I am concerned only with the scholarly communication here, namely that one that's being paid out of public money, that is, its largest part.

The pre-Internet process of communicating a scientific result, called "publishing", consisted of authoring-->peer-reviewing+editing-->acceptance, then followed by: render on paper-->store at the classical library, which, in the Internet era, the normal process should become, instead: store at the digital library-->render on paper, etc.

It is obvious that, currently, the scholarly communication seems to ignore the existence of Internet, and, in the process, public money end up, as usual, in the private pockets of "publishers"=rendereres on paper, for no justifiable reason.

The governments are funding science so that it should be available to the public, but that science ends up under a paywall in some private companies, that is, the public has to pay a second time to acccess the results it paid for already.

This was obvious to me (and others) since 1997, a public money theft is continuing unabated meanwhile. Why the fuck nothing has changed since?

Here are some reasons: 1. the relationships of an editorial board (which works as such also on public money) with the "publishers"=renderers on paper were having a history of their own, they built slowly and achieved, as a side-effect, a commercial profit for the "publishers". Obviously, the "publishers" are interested in maintaining this relation. 2. the structures, or "publishing circuits", above, are also structures of power, where scientific editors and reviewers keep themselves on the edge of information in their field, which makes them competitive in the race for the public money funding the research. Obviously, the editorial boards are interested in maintaining this structure of power. 3. there are these fake concepts, like "impact factor", which say that, if you didn't publish in a high-impact journal, you won't be competitive in the race for the public funding. This is what I would call a self-hole: young researchers are forced to sing the tune the editorial boards of these high/impact factor journals expect from them, otherwise they won't be recognized as researchers; no real challenge to the current understanding of the field will be published unless it serves a new group of power ready to get a chunk of public funding. So science is no longer science, is a race for power and money, like any other society of ignorant people.

All these can be fixed in one move: a law mandating publishing at the digital library in open-access mode: there is no reason for publicly funding the rendering on paper at the current private publishers, at most, such public funding should be limited for long-term archiving purposes, and only if that archive is publicly accessible.

Are there enough real scientists left to make this happen?

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