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Re: Growth for STM publishers in 2008

> If PLOS One does not ask its reviewers to do the impossible, 
> does that imply that the PLOS flagship journals do in fact ask 
> its reviewers to do the impossible?

Indeed it does, to my way of thinking.  I would not pay the extra 
$1400 or so to publish in PLoS Biology -- what more do I get for 
that money than PLoS ONE offers me?  My work faces the same 
degree of scientific scrutiny at both journals, and if accepted, 
on publication achieves the same universal accessibility.  Let 
history judge its utility or, if one must have a number, count 
downloads and citations for my papers directly rather than 
accepting something so nebulous as journal reputation as a proxy 
for the quality of my work.

What I get for the $1400 is, of course, that boost to my 
reputation which derives from the widespread perception that PB 
is the "better" journal, but since I think that perception is 
false it follows that I also think that value is spurious, and to 
pay for it is short-sighted. To chase after journal prestige (and 
fixate on Thomson-Reuters' proprietary measure of same) is to 
play into the hands of for-profit enterprise.

Don't get me wrong: I don't[1] grudge publishers their profit; 
but equally, I don't feel any obligation to help them make it. 
If a publisher wants to claim that their system allows them 
accurately to predict the future, making their brand a reliable 
proxy for the downstream scientific utility of the papers they 
publish and thereby justifying higher prices than other journals 
might charge, let them support their claim empirically.  Show me 
the data.

(Perhaps I have just set myself up for egg on the face: perhaps 
the data do exist, showing clearly how journal prestige relates 
to publication quality -- after all, one would suppose that 
journals which trade heavily on their reputations would have been 
collecting such information for years.  Honestly, I'll be so 
pleased to see the data that I won't mind the egg.)

In the absence of any such evidence, I continue to believe that 
journal prestige is useful only to publishers, and authors should 
pay it no mind.  Let journals compete on the basis of more 
concrete offerings: price, typesetting quality, archiving, 
proofreading, etc etc.


[1]there are exceptions, but let's not go there.


On Fri, 23 Oct 2009 17:44 -0400, "Joseph Esposito" <espositoj@gmail.com>

> If PLOS One does not ask its reviewers to do the impossible, 
> does that imply that the PLOS flagship journals do in fact ask 
> its reviewers to do the impossible?
> Joe Esposito
> On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM, Bill Hooker <cwhooker@fastmail.fm>
> wrote:
>>> PLOS, on the other hand, has already demonstrated one way to
>>> lower costs through its PLOS One program. The reduction in
>>> cost derives from adopting a policy of less rigorous peer
>>> review.
>> PLoS ONE peer review is no whit less *scientifically* rigorous
>> than that imposed by any other journal.  The only difference is
>> that PLoS ONE does not ask reviewers to make impossible guesses
>> as to what judgement history is likely to pass on a given
>> paper. I would hesitate to describe the addition of such
>> guesswork to the review process as an increase in rigor.
>> So far as costs are concerned -- whatever the cost of
>> prognostications about likely importance, I personally would
>> rather the publishers skip that step and pass on the savings.
>> If, that is, there are savings.  How exactly does the PLoS ONE
>> model of peer review result in lower costs?
>> B.