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Re: Another Poynder Eye-Opener on Open Access

Some reaction to Stevan's points (not all of them...)

> (1) Richard is probably right that PLOS ONE is over-charging and
> under-reviewing (and over-hyping).

The important point to remember here is that "gold journals" are 
not equivalent to author- or author-proxy-pay journals. PLOS in 
general, and PLOS ONE in particular is but a flavour of the gold 

> (2) It is not at all clear, however, that the solution is to
> deposit everything instead as unrefereed preprints in an IR and
> then wait for the better stuff to be picked up by an "overlay
> journal". (I actually think that's utter nonsense.)

If overlay journals (or any equivalent scheme) were to be as 
passive as Stevan describes, I would fully agree with hi, 
However, it is not ridiculous to imagine consortia of 
repositories forming to promote their content, and, on top of 
that, establish a new layer of active judgement that would create 
new forms of value for these articles. The tyranny of citation 
impacts and the misuse of citation impacts must be, to say the 
least, diluted to bring back some sanity to the evaluation 
procedures presently in force in various scientific communities.
> (3) The frequently mooted notion (of Richard Smith and many
> others) of postpublication "peer review" is not much better, but
> it is like a kind of "evolutionarily unstable strategy" that
> could be dipped into experimentally to test what scholarly
> quality, sustainability, and scaleability it would yield -- until
> (as I would predict) the consequences become evident enough to
> induce everyone to draw back.

What I just wrote above may partially correspond to this 
postpublication "peer review"; but then it may not. In any case, 
I would see this effort as one aiming at buiding well-defined 
quality levels, rather than ranking systems. In short, beside 
ranking everybody in ways that are sometimes difficult to justify 
(three decimals with impact factor measurements, for example...), 
it might be interesting to provide A, B, C, D grades to articles 
after publication. Who would do that? Juries established by the 
consortia of repositories I mentioned earlier. Why would they do 
that? To promote their content and make it more useful 
(especially if the metadata included an extension incorporating 
these grades).


> (8) Richard replied that the reason he did not dwell on Green OA,
> which he too favors, is that he thinks Green OA progress is still
> too slow (I agree!) and that it's important to point out that the
> fault in the system is at the publisher end -- whether non-OA
> publisher or OA. I continue to think the fault is at the
> researcher end, and will be remedied by Green OA self-archiving
> by researchers, and Green OA self-archiving mandates by research
> institutions and funders

If publishers did not constantly muddy the waters and create all 
kinds of variations on what one can self-archive (for example no 
publisher pdf), researchers would not feel that there is too much 
complexity and uncertainty in self-archiving. So, yes, 
researchers are ultimately responsible, but they cannot be held 
completely responsible if the rules are made very complex and 
subtle. A third stake holder deserves being mentioned in this 
context: research administrators. If their evaluation procedures 
does not include some bonus for self-archiving, why should the 
regular researcher self-archive? Stevan would probably answer 
that they should because of the oA advantage, and, on the whole, 
he is right, but are they aware of that? Is it so important for 
their careers at the local and institutional level. If you are a 
regular research Joe whose impact is, at bestvery limited, yet 
does his basic job all right, what does it matter to him/her that 
his impact is doubled if it is very small to start with? At some 
point in the scientific pyramid, competition ceases to be very 
crucial, and I suspect that a majority of "researchers" are in 
that category. In other words,the realities on the ground of 
scientific practise should be examined very carefully before 
assigning responsibility only to one category of stakeholders.

> Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of
> Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine
> 16 (7/8).

Thank you for pointing out this article. I had not seen it.


Jean-Claude Guedon