2011-08-20 04:44:09Journal Access
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

How useful would it be to have a thread or page set up so that all of the authors can help one another gain access to new or old publications that are only available to those that have subscriptions to the journal in which the paper was published?  For example, there have been requests in the past for papers in Science, or Geophysical Research Letters, or Nature, and while we've had a hodge-podge of "I've got access," I think it might be easier if we had a full-time thread in which we can make requests, and others can let know what journals they have access to.

For a start, I have access to Science - what other journals do we have access to?

2011-08-20 06:01:45
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
80.177.115.133

I've got access to pretty much everything worthwhile through my uni library, including Science, Nature, GRL, Earth & Planetary Science Letters, Journal of Climate, Quaternary Research, you name it.  Having a thread for requests is a great idea.  Also, I'm more than happy to help out with resolving requests for specific papers if you e-mail me direct at: brownsg@gmail.com.

2011-08-20 06:31:16
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.197

Good idea!

I'll check mine when I get back into the office.

2011-08-20 06:49:45
MartinS

mstolpe@student.ethz...
129.132.210.197

I have access to nearly every journal (even E&E...) via a VPN connection to my university (quite handy because I don't have to go to the libary but can access from everywhere).

2011-08-20 07:13:38
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.42.215

Great idea Alex!

2011-08-20 07:28:46
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Maybe we can have an email listing of sorts, with the journals people have access to listed along with them (or, conversely, a journal list with emails next to them).  Whether it's held here or maybe as its own page (similar to the moderator admin page) can be decided fairly easily.

2011-08-20 07:46:20
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

I have access to Science and limited access to AGU Journals, for the AGU, I use the multipack option, which allows me to access 20 articles for $30 or 40 for $50. I`m happy to `lend` these to SkS members.

I think we need an informal rule that any article we get via this Forum, we use ourselves only and don`t pass on to third parties. I think that some downloaded pdfs come with individual identifiers and can be traced back to the original download. This could mean that subscribers could get in trouble with the publishers in some cases. It`s unlikely, though.

2011-08-20 08:04:31
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Yes, I think that is a good point Andy.  I also think a related informal rule should be in place that such PDFs also not be uploaded to SkS (that's possible, isn't it?), keeping this strictly a personal email system.

2011-08-20 08:17:14If I can sound a note of caution,
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.161.231

what is being suggested here is a concerted effort to violate copyright.  If individuals do that on this website, that is the individuals responsibility, and in the unlikely event of any enforcement it will come down on their heads.  But if the website dedicates a page sharing copyright material, it is very likely to attract the ire of publishing houses should that be revealed, and John will be liable.  I would hate to loose Skeptical Science over something as trivial as this.

 

If we wish to share scientific papers more widely, that is a very good idea.  However, we should do it by contacting the lead author of the paper and getting their permission to post copies of the paper (if they hold copyright).  Alternatively it may be possible for SkS to get an institutional subscription to major journals which members can access for a fee.

2011-08-20 09:09:43No paper-sharing webpage!
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.144

I share Tom Curtis' concern. We have discussed this matter before.

2011-08-20 09:47:44
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

I was not aware there was already discussion into such an issue, and understand the copyright concerns.

In that case, if we do decide to go through authors, then there probably won't be a separate page/thread through which that would be... managed, as it were.

I guess John will have to give some input if the alternative route is something worth pursuing, of an instututional subscription?

2011-08-20 10:56:38
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

Speaking for myself, I am prepared to flout copyright rules for scientific papers. I think it's terrible that publically funded scientific research should be kept from the public unless they pay an often exorbitant fee. So I consider it a minor act of civil disobedience and I'm prepared to live with the consequences, in the unlikely event that there are any. Even sending other individuals copies that I have paid for is a violation but I'm not going to stop doing that. 

Still, Tom's point about possible consequences to SkS is a good one and we need to be careful. As far as I know, authors generally do not have copyright on their own papers. They used to be able to buy reprints at the time of publication, which they could give away (or more usually keep in a pile in the corners of their offices). I think the publishers turn a blind eye to authors sending out pdfs of their own papers (perhaps there's a digital equivalent of reprints, I don'tknow) but if they do send any of us a copy, we typically won't be allowed to pass them on to others  or even cut and paste figures from them without the publisher's permission.

There are a lot of grey areas here, for example, posting links to free downlaods from sites that may not themselves have copyright and cutting and pasting figures without permission, both of which happen a lot on this site. In general, I would imagine that we have some protection by virtue of the fact that we are a non-profit doing public service and frequently provide the authors and the journals free publicity. There's also the fair use clauses that apply to different extents in different countries.

I doubt that we'll be able to afford an institutional subscription, although it might be possible to get an institutional waiver from some publishers, such as the AGU,  for limited reproduction and limited circulation of articles within the authors' team.

Neal: I missed the previous discussion on copyright. Do you have a link?

2011-08-20 11:25:58
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.144

Andy S:

No, it is somewhere in the archive of "General Chat".

2011-08-20 11:33:40
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Was it this?

2011-08-20 13:02:19
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

Alex C,

No: that thread relates to copying content, whereas here we are discussing the copyright violation of distributing published material. The issue here relates more to the concept of having a technical library of journal articles, like a university.

The problem being that subscriptions by libraries are charged a very high "institutional" rate, because they know many people will make use of each copy.

2011-08-20 18:16:27
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I agree with Tom and Neal.

"Andy S Speaking for myself, I am prepared to flout copyright rules for scientific papers"

That is a personal choice to flout copyright law.
To start an officially sanctioned  thread to exchange copyrighted law is effectively a conscious affort to conspire to break the law and drawing a lot of people in to the conspiracy.

2011-08-20 19:06:26
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

I would have thought that posting someone a paper copy of a journal article would come under "fair use"; an electronic copy would be likely to be viewed as rather wider distribution.  I don't think we should consider flouting any law, John is providing a very valuable resource in SkS and he would be the most likely person to be prosecuted.  I'll have to check on the laws, but I am happy to post papers, but not send electronic copies.

Personally I like open access journals.  In my field the top journal is open access and has no charges for the authors (uses print on demand for libraries etc that actually want a paper copy) - one wonders why all journals don't follow the same model!

2011-08-20 20:25:47
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

Dikran,

- What do you mean by "I am happy to post papers, but not send electronic copies"?

- "one wonders why all journals don't follow the same model!": For the same reason that publishers charge for books: That's how they recover their costs and make money.

2011-08-20 20:59:34
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

Sorry, I meant post as it snail mail (physical paper copies of papers, which as I said ought to be covered under "fair use")

The journal in question (jmlr.org) is not run on a commercial basis.  The major costs to academics in journal publication is in the time spent editing and reviewing, for which commercial journals do not pay anyway (or if they do I have been seriously missing out! ;o).  A primarily electronic journal with little overheads doesn't cost that much to run, and is not significantly more work for the academics, so one wonders why academics leave journal publication in the hands of commercial publishers.  Where is the benefit?

2011-08-20 21:51:48
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

- How do you get qualified editors and dispassionate review-managers to work consistently on a scientific journal without salary?

- If there are salaries, who pays for them?

2011-08-20 22:42:42
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

It is part of the job.  In the UK the governments research assessment exercises (called REF these days) takes into account "indicators of peer esteem".  Being the editor of a top journal is a very significant indicator of peer esteem, and would be highly valued by a research active department.  You might even get a reduction in teaching load as a result of such appointments.  If you look at the editorial staff of JMLR they are the very top people in the field, I very much doubt that any of them are paid anything for it.  The production of such as journal is not all that expensive.  My better half for instance has been a production editor for a series of collected volumes and was not paid for it.  I have reviewed hundreds of papers and edited a couple of journal special editions and never been paid a penny for it (I was once sent a free book as a thankyou for reviewing an undergraduate textbook, but that isn't quite the same).

Essentially volunteer editing and reviewing is the quid pro quo for the work that goes into the editing and reviewing of the papers we submit ourselves.  If you are a publishing scientist it is expected of you (typically if you are merely competent you ought to be reviewing around three to five times as many papers as you submit).

As for the "dispassionate", it becomes second nature after a while, just as a good teacher learns not to exhibit any favouritism to particular students. 

2011-08-20 23:12:03
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

Reviewing a paper is different than managing the process of running a journal: vetting the authors, choosing (and persuading) the editors, etc.

Why not ask scientists to just work for free? They're interested in the truth, right? So they don't need filthy lucre, right? The truth should be enough.

2011-08-20 23:49:11
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

As I said, I have also edited, and was not paid, my wife has worked as a production editor and was not paid.  This sort o voluntary work is the norm for a working scientist; if you are good you just get asked to volunteer more often.  Scientists are not generally paid to do editing work, they generally do do it for free, it is merely part of being a good scientist.  

I occasionally get emails asking me to become the editor of some new journal from a low-quality commercial publisher. Never once have they even mentioned the possibility of paying me.  I have always turned them down because such journals are not a force for good (anyone who is any good will be publishing in established good journals, so these journals only get to sift through what is left, and there is generally a good reason why those papers were rejected or would not be accepted by the established journals; generally it would be a benefit to the research community, including the authors, if they were not published).

If a decent journal offered me an editorship I would not be able to turn it down, as it would be an "indicator of peer esteem" that my department can use to improve its standing in the league tables.  While I wouldn't particularly want the additional unpaid work, it would nevertheless also be a duty that I ought not to shirk. 

2011-08-21 00:00:15
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

One of the reasons that a good journal can BE a good journal is that they have professional staff, dedicated and working fulltime.

So, I'm sure that your department would be happy if you worked full-time as an unpaid editor of a journal, while holding your academic post? Not minding that your publication rate went to 0, and your teaching evaporated?

2011-08-21 00:23:49
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

If you don't believe me that editors of science journals are generally unpaid, that is up to you.

I note however that you have substituted "worked full-time" in your second paragraph; editors of most scientific journals do not work anything like full time as journal editors, and will have generally have a full time academic post.  For example, the editor in chief of JMLR is Laurence Saul (University of California, San Diego), IEEE TPAMI has Ramin Zabih
(Dept. of Computer Science, Cornell University), International Journal of Climatology has Glenn McGregor (University of Auckland), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society B has Casella (University of Florida) and Roberts (University of Warwick), etc.  I think you will find that all of these people are top scientists, who are still publishing regularly and who have teaching duties.  Try and find a mainstream science journal that doesn't have an editor with an academic post and who doesn't still teach and publish.  I dare say they exist (perhaps for some leviathan like Nature), but I suspect they are a very small minority.

What is your evidence that journal editors/action editors are paid full time positions; if I can't convince you, perhaps you can convince me?

2011-08-21 00:42:38
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

Consider:

- Nature : http://www.nature.com/nature/about/editors/

- Physical Review : http://publish.aps.org/departments/editorial.html

At least some of these people appear not to have a current academic position. So I expect they're either getting paid, or living off library paste.

2011-08-21 00:52:21
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

I wrote: "I dare say they exist (perhaps for some leviathan like Nature), but I suspect they are a very small minority."

you wrote: "Consider: ... - Nature : http://www.nature.com/nature/about/editors/"

Yes, some bohemoths like Nature and Science are so large that they do have full time editorial staff, but they are in the minority.  Most mainstream journals have unpaid editorial staff (but full time production and administrative staff).  The journals I cited are leading subject-specific scientific journals, and are fairly typical.  The main reason the editor in chief is not a full time post is because most of the work of recruiting reviewers and processing reviews and coming to a decision is actually performed by a large number of action editors who are also unpaid, and nowhere near full time.

2011-08-21 04:12:27
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

I think that a reasonable compromise between commercial restrictions and open source is that of the AGU, which has cheap membership ($20, which includes getting Eos) and access to 40 journal articles per year for an additional $50. Science is not bad either, my subscription costs about $150 per year, although I do wish they could spare me the physical paper copies. This means that AGU articles are available for the cost of an iTunes song, more or less, and I'm happy to pay for them.

What I object to are the plethora of expensive Nature journals and the commercial journals such as Elsevier's. The main people getting hosed by these jounals are those people funding libraries and institutional subscriptions, since individual subscriptions are out of reach for all but the very rich. I do wish that national grant agencies would insist that research that is finded by public money should become available to the public at reasonable cost after a certain time period;perhaps some money should be earmarked in each grant to cover the costs of publication.

My flouting of the law consists of file-sharing with friends and colleagues and of having my own publications freely available for download on my own website. I recommend that SkS should take no such risk of falling foul of copyright laws.

Bad as this situation is for climate science, it can be worse for doctors or medical students in poor countries who need access to medical journals. See this article from the Guardian for example.

2011-08-21 04:46:26
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I applied for a job at Nature (Academic Journals) this week. As a web production editor. I very much doubt if I get an interview, it was a bit of a long shot, some what out side my area of expertise.

2011-08-21 05:07:02
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

Andy S - absolutely, I have an IEEE Digital Library subscription and a subscription to another journal because my department doesn't have sufficient funding for the library to carry the journals I need.   This has generally been funded directly out of my own pocket - not an ideal solution!  Journals like JMLR ought to be the future.

Paul D - if you don't ask, you don't get, best of luck, you never know!

2011-08-21 06:02:05
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.106

Nature is not only big, but highly prestigious.

Maybe that has something to do with having the full requisite personnel to deal with the job.

2011-08-21 06:14:42
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

Yes, but it is in a minority in having full time editorial staff, so my point remains. 

As it happens, Nature is not a particularly prestigeous journal in which to publish computer science or statistics or mathematics, for example.  I would vastly prefer to have a paper in JRSSB than half a dozen in Nature.  I certainly would be more confident of competent peer review at JRSSB than Nature simply because Nature doesn't publish enough statistical or compter science papers, full time editorial staff or not.

2011-08-21 06:23:14
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

I find the diversion of the discussion in this thread somewhat amusing, but interesting - to blow some more oxygen back into the embers of our previous topic, I assume it is an agreement then that it wouldn't be worth it for SkS to obtain an institutional subscription to so-and-so journals?  Or, would it be a good and manageable idea for less expensive ones?

2011-08-21 06:30:50
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

Alex C, indeed; I think the diversion has more than run its course.

Institutional subscriptions would be rather expensive; if sending paper copies would come under fair use (education, collaboarting on articles for public understanding of science), perhaps that is the easist approach (although I am tempted to join the AGU).

2011-08-21 10:16:13
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.161.231

Dikran, a rule of thumb I was taught at university is that "fair use" never includes more than 10% of an article.

 

It may be possible under fair use to post key diagrams and to quote particularly important paragraphs as part of a general summary of the article, but that would involve significant effort on the part of the person making the summary.

2011-08-21 11:04:45
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

AGU is interested in public outreach and may well consider granting SkS permission to have limited access to certain jounals for free, with the aim of writing popular science blog posts. SkS is one of the most respected and widely-read new media outlets for climate science and I wouldn't be surprised if the AGU were to welcome an approach from John.

Also, I'm told that even individual, lesser known climate bloggers get free advance copies of books for review, sent direct from publishers. I'm sure we could qualify for that status from the big publishing houses if we just  asked. If so, they might also consider sending us pre-publication lists of journal contents from which we could request specific upcoming articles to write about.

2011-08-21 17:10:00
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.224.131

@Tom, IIRC it is 10% of a book/journal, i.e. there was no problem photocopying an article or a chapter of a book to distribute to your students.  The rules may be different for republishing, e.g. diagrams for an SkS article.

2011-08-21 21:08:34AGU permission
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.177.173.40
Sounds a long shot, granting SkS (and all it's authors) access to AGU journals. I'm talking on a climate communication session in the Fall meeting and to submit an abstract, I had to become an AGU member. It's pretty cheap (I think around $30) and I thought, sweet, access to all their journals. Bt it didn't include journal access, which are much pricier and you have to subscribe to each journal individually. Ouch! Deniers are investing millions to get their information out to the public through a variety of PR campaigns and we hide our science behind pay walls. I know science costs money, we live in the real world, but the situation sucks nonetheless.

I'll keep an eye out for an opportunity to get SkS journal access in some way, empowering all SkS authors to easily access papers. I'm guessing it's a highly unorthodox situation but SkS is a fairly unorthodox set-up.

2011-08-23 06:02:36
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
80.177.115.133

Without wanting to state the obvious; Google Scholar is getting better at throwing up directly accessible copies of papers.  I've been getting a >80% success rate in the past few months, which is a big improvement compared to just 2 years ago.

2011-08-30 07:33:58
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

George Monbiot speaks out on the academic publishing racket

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

Academic publishers charge vast fees to access research paid for by us. Down with the knowledge monopoly racketeers

2011-08-30 07:43:11Do copyright laws...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

apply to materials posted on a membership only website like the one we are on?

Is there an international protocol re copyrights?

2011-08-30 17:04:23
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.161.26

Badgersouth, yes.  And Yes.  More importantly, regardless of the international conventions, Australian law definitely applies to Skeptical Science and to John Cook, and Australian copyright law is very stringent.

2011-08-30 18:48:43
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.152

I think we should not have further discussions on this topic on this site. If you want to discuss further, use other methods.

2011-08-31 01:38:20
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Re: Job I applied for at Nature (Nature Publishing Group), see previous comment above.


Blimey, I have got a first stage interview!
Wasn't expecting that. It's a real pain to get to location wise, but they pay good money.
There is an 'html' test.

2011-08-31 04:06:25
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.152

Sounds good! We'll have our fingers crossed.

2011-08-31 06:57:22
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.59.103

Good luck with the interview Paul. Definitely have my fingers crossed.