I did my research. Yes, I think academic publishers are greedy. (With notes on publishers’ rhetoric and creationism)

As promised…

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Another day, another puff-piece from academic publishers about how awesome they are. This time, the Publisher’s Association somehow suckered the Guardian into giving them a credible-looking platform for their party political broadcast, Think academic publishers are greedy? Do your research. I have to give the PA credit for coming up with about the most patronising title possible.

Yes, I did my research. Guess what? Academic publishers are greedy.


(The article doesn’t say it’s by the Publishers Association, by the way. It’s credited to Stephen Lotinga, who LinkedIn tells us is Chief Executive of The Publishers Assocation, but the article doesn’t declare that.)

Oh boy do I get tired of constantly rebutting the same old bs. from publishers. And it really is the same bs. They’re not even taking the trouble to invent new bs., just churning out the same nonsense each time — for example, equating their massive profits with investment in…

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6 Responses to “I did my research. Yes, I think academic publishers are greedy. (With notes on publishers’ rhetoric and creationism)”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Now that we have the internet to disseminate information, let’s starve them.

    One problem is that the academic community will have to organise its response through other channels than their own learned societies, who are often in the same game.

    • The internet might be necessary, but not sufficient. Some sort of organization is still necessary. Publish everything, let the readers decide (or “vote up” good papers) does not work. Even apart from cross-listings and replacements, there are usually more than 50 papers on arXiv each day, just in astrophysics. There is no way someone can read them all.
      One can probably read all the papers in one’s own sub-field, but if one has already read them all, then one needs no external filter. If one doesn’t read them all and relies on some ranking system, then that is as dubious as relying on bibliometry as a proxy for quality (especially considering that people might vote up particular papers without having read all papers in the subfield).

      Usenet has had discussion groups, even moderated ones, on scientific topics for decades. Are they useful? Yes, at least some are to some people, Have they replaced “papers”? No.

      What we need is something like the Open Journal of Astrophysics, but the stealth marketing is probably confusing more people than just me. Searching for it on the internet brings up a lot of announcements. It has been discussed quite a bit here, but my recent questions concerning it have been met with deafening silence. This might lead some people to believe that it is all mouth and trousers (to use an expression from north of the Midlands).

      Quote of the day.

      USENET was the first and greatest moment of massive connectivity of a million individual minds. It is the first and greatest moment of humanity thinking together (or at least all murmuring simultaneously). It was, if nothing else, a giant cocktail party. However trivial and tripe most of the thoughts may have been, there is a larger gestalt in its mass. And unlike the information in the internet decades later, USENET is nicely flat. The whole is more than just the sum of its individual parts.

      —itfitzme at http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/10/usenet/

      • Note that the URL above, from which I accessed the quote, no longer has it. That is the internet as well. 😦

        Some people write “accessed on <date>>”, but this is not useful unless there is an archive somewhere which tracks all changes in all web pages. Since there isn’t, it isn’t much better than “I overheard it down the pub”.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        It’s worse. The pub is a lot more fun.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        “The internet might be necessary, but not sufficient.”

        Of course I’m aware of that, Phillip, and my words did not imply sufficiency. That’s why I have been a strong supporter from the start of Peter’s Open Journal of Astrophysics.

      • “That’s why I have been a strong supporter from the start of Peter’s Open Journal of Astrophysics.”

        As have I, which is why I keep asking about what happened to the announcement.

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