Ethical scientific publishing

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Bird on a Fire
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Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Feb 23, 2022 1:47 pm

The scientific journal publishing model is deeply unethical: today, a few major for-profit conglomerates control more than 50% of all articles in the natural sciences and social sciences, driving subscription and open-access publishing fees above levels that can be sustainably maintained by publicly funded universities, libraries and research institutions worldwide. About a third of the costs paid for publishing papers is profit for these dominant publishers’ shareholders, and about half of them covers costs to maintain the system running, including lobbying, marketing fees and paywalls, which in turn restrict access of scientific outputs from being freely shared to the public and other researchers. Thus, money that the public is told goes into science is actually being funneled away from it, or used to limit its access. Alternatives to this model exist and have increased in popularity in recent years, including diamond open-access journals and community-driven recommendation models that are free of charge for authors and minimize costs for institutions and agencies, while making peer-reviewed scientific results publicly accessible. However, for-profit publishing agents have made change difficult, by co-opting open-access schemes and creating journal-driven incentives that prevent an effective collective transition away from profiteering. Here, we give a brief overview of the current state of the academic publishing system, including its most important systemic problems. We then describe alternative systems. We explain the reasons why the move towards them can be perceived as costly to individual researchers, and demystify common roadblocks to change. Finally, in view of the above, we provide a set of guidelines and recommendations that academics at all levels can implement, in order to enable a more rapid and effective transition towards ethical publishing.
https://zenodo.org/record/6224306#.YhVSOtOny-4
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Sciolus » Thu Feb 24, 2022 4:18 pm

4. Withdraw our free peer review or editing labor from commercial journals
I'm not an academic, but this seems like a no-brainer to me. Zero cost to the individual, huge cost to the parasites. Peer review is a community obligation, sure, but there is no shortage of quality ethical journals to volunteer for, so why support the scum?

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by sTeamTraen » Thu Feb 24, 2022 6:06 pm

Prediction: Nothing will happen, because with the exception of a few (rightfully) angry grad students and postdocs, the current system suits most of the people in it, or at least, most of the people who remain in it. <Wald_Bomber.jpg>

All of the economic incentives line up to make it easier to go along with the system than to fight it. Look at it from the point of view of the average mid-career scientist:
- Traditional (subscription) journal access turns up like magic, paid for by the fairy dust of the library budget. Sure, if the university didn't have to spend it then that money could be freed up, but in large organisations, when a long-standing budget item is freed up, the vultures start to circle, and there are more "Shiny new HQ building" people round the management table than "World-leading chemistry lab" people.
- Open Access publishing means paying Article Processing Charges, but those are typically in the low four figures, which probably doesn't make much of a dent in your grant, compared to what it cost to hire a postdoc. Maybe if you published without APCs you could have paid the postdoc's visa fee, but she seemed awfully keen to come anyway, so there was no need. Or something.
- Shunning both of those, and either eschewing peer-reviewed publication altogther or publishing in the small (in some fields, non-existent) number of ethical journals, means limited career progression. Sure, there's DORA. Your university maybe even signed up to it. Do they do more than pay lip service to it? Do they buggery.

Fundamentally, most research scientists are spending Other People's Money. You don't have to be a fully-paid-up Thatcherite to know that when that happens, and especially when that money has been earmarked for particular budget line items, things don't always work out optimally. (I'm not proposing that science should not be funded by OPM, but it would be naive not to acknowledge some of the well-known effects of that.)

Full disclosure (and definitely not advertising): I am a member of the advisory board at Meta-Psychology, an open access journal with no article processing charges, whose editor-in-chief got me my current academic affiliation. It's a start, but it's still only a teaspoon in a very large bucket.
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Feb 25, 2022 4:02 am

Sciolus wrote:
Thu Feb 24, 2022 4:18 pm
4. Withdraw our free peer review or editing labor from commercial journals
I'm not an academic, but this seems like a no-brainer to me. Zero cost to the individual, huge cost to the parasites. Peer review is a community obligation, sure, but there is no shortage of quality ethical journals to volunteer for, so why support the scum?
Because the ethical journals can't currently handle the required load in most fields. The rational solution would be for professional societies and universities to organize massive expansion of the ethical publishing sector with the aim of saving money in the future by phasing out the for-profit subscription model, but there's not enough political will for that.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Holylol » Fri Feb 25, 2022 8:46 am

Sciolus wrote:
Thu Feb 24, 2022 4:18 pm
4. Withdraw our free peer review or editing labor from commercial journals
I'm not an academic, but this seems like a no-brainer to me. Zero cost to the individual, huge cost to the parasites. Peer review is a community obligation, sure, but there is no shortage of quality ethical journals to volunteer for, so why support the scum?
In many areas there is definitely a shortage of ethical journals. In my discipline (acoustics, fluid mechanics) there really aren't many decent journals that have not been acquired by one of the big publisher. And one of the most recognised journals is part of Cambridge University Press, but this journal is the cash cow of that publisher.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Sciolus » Fri Feb 25, 2022 7:56 pm

Are the world's greatest intellects really so dysfunctional, so in thrall to Stockholm Syndrome, that not only do they tolerate being abused, but actively collaborate in the abuse? And when you tell them that there's a refuge they can go to, they just say, you don't understand, he's not like that with me, he loves me really?

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Holylol » Fri Feb 25, 2022 9:53 pm

Apart from being quite insulting, is there a point to your post?
Many institutions/grant agencies evaluate academics based on a stupid list of fancy journals in which they ought to have published. You can kick and scream all you want, but this does not seem to be significantly changing quickly.
Academics are, like many other people, trying to keep their jobs and trying to make sure that their "company" (labs) stay afloat. You may not have experienced how incentives, that academics are asked to comply with, can break people if they don't comply. And I'm talking suicides.
It's exhausting to see some people grandstand about what other people ought to do. It's easy to ask others to "just do something", that they either have no power over, or that would mean throwing away a career in a job that they are very passionate about.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Holylol » Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:03 pm

And that does not mean that people are happy with the current system. Many academics (especially young academics) want nothing more than this system to change. But guess what, it's the people with the money that make the rules, not academics.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:42 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 4:02 am
Sciolus wrote:
Thu Feb 24, 2022 4:18 pm
4. Withdraw our free peer review or editing labor from commercial journals
I'm not an academic, but this seems like a no-brainer to me. Zero cost to the individual, huge cost to the parasites. Peer review is a community obligation, sure, but there is no shortage of quality ethical journals to volunteer for, so why support the scum?
Because the ethical journals can't currently handle the required load in most fields. The rational solution would be for professional societies and universities to organize massive expansion of the ethical publishing sector with the aim of saving money in the future by phasing out the for-profit subscription model, but there's not enough political will for that.
In my field (ecology & evolution), about half of papers are run by learned societies - and they're amongst the least affordable. Publishing - via professional publishers, be it through subscriptions or APCs - brings in a huge proportion of many societies' income, and several such journals have had editorials against open access because of the threat it apparently poses to societies.

That said, even if we still have to submit to profiteering journals, I'd agree it's a no-brainer to stop reviewing and editing for them. We're all always whingeing about workloads, and working for billionaires for free is a mug's game. Prioritising work for ethical journals is a good way to expand their bandwidth.

Similarly I only keep an eye on TOCs from ethical journals, they're the only ones I follow on twitter, etc., which means organically they're also the main outlets I cite. (Sadly I'm nowhere near productive enough for this to matter much!)
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:46 pm

Holylol wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 9:53 pm
Apart from being quite insulting, is there a point to your post?
Many institutions/grant agencies evaluate academics based on a stupid list of fancy journals in which they ought to have published. You can kick and scream all you want, but this does not seem to be significantly changing quickly.
Academics are, like many other people, trying to keep their jobs and trying to make sure that their "company" (labs) stay afloat. You may not have experienced how incentives, that academics are asked to comply with, can break people if they don't comply. And I'm talking suicides.
It's exhausting to see some people grandstand about what other people ought to do. It's easy to ask others to "just do something", that they either have no power over, or that would mean throwing away a career in a job that they are very passionate about.
Indeed, but - tone aside - I think Sciolus was really talking about the reviewing/editing side of things. Which we're not incentivised to do at all (it's time-consuming, unpaid, anonymous and not necessarily all that interesting - though it can be, of course). If we all replied to every review request from an exploitative journal with "Get f.cked, you profiteering w.nker!" (or something more tactful) then we'd have more time to do useful things (including supporting the academic community, of course - but I'd argue it's got to the point where reviewing for a Nature journal is probably more like undermining it).
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:54 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Thu Feb 24, 2022 6:06 pm
Prediction: Nothing will happen, because with the exception of a few (rightfully) angry grad students and postdocs, the current system suits most of the people in it, or at least, most of the people who remain in it. <Wald_Bomber.jpg>

All of the economic incentives line up to make it easier to go along with the system than to fight it. Look at it from the point of view of the average mid-career scientist:
- Traditional (subscription) journal access turns up like magic, paid for by the fairy dust of the library budget. Sure, if the university didn't have to spend it then that money could be freed up, but in large organisations, when a long-standing budget item is freed up, the vultures start to circle, and there are more "Shiny new HQ building" people round the management table than "World-leading chemistry lab" people.
- Open Access publishing means paying Article Processing Charges, but those are typically in the low four figures, which probably doesn't make much of a dent in your grant, compared to what it cost to hire a postdoc. Maybe if you published without APCs you could have paid the postdoc's visa fee, but she seemed awfully keen to come anyway, so there was no need. Or something.
- Shunning both of those, and either eschewing peer-reviewed publication altogther or publishing in the small (in some fields, non-existent) number of ethical journals, means limited career progression. Sure, there's DORA. Your university maybe even signed up to it. Do they do more than pay lip service to it? Do they buggery.

Fundamentally, most research scientists are spending Other People's Money. You don't have to be a fully-paid-up Thatcherite to know that when that happens, and especially when that money has been earmarked for particular budget line items, things don't always work out optimally. (I'm not proposing that science should not be funded by OPM, but it would be naive not to acknowledge some of the well-known effects of that.)

Full disclosure (and definitely not advertising): I am a member of the advisory board at Meta-Psychology, an open access journal with no article processing charges, whose editor-in-chief got me my current academic affiliation. It's a start, but it's still only a teaspoon in a very large bucket.
That magical processes might be true in wealthy institutions, but it's not the norm in (a) global academia or (b) society.

I have access to very few journals through my (Portuguese) university library. I have no access to funds for OA in my grant. So I can only read a slim portion of recent publications (though folk are getting better at self-archiving). Sci-hub used to be awesome, but seems to have slowed down its acquisition of papers recently (just in time for thesis-writing, lol).

In terms of (b), many fields, like medicine or conservation, are especially important in lower-income countries where researchers are perfectly able to perform research quite cheaply, but are then shut out of publishing. As are governments, NGOs and small corporations. There are enormous biases in what's published in ecology for this reason, with a negative correlation between annual publications and biodiversity. I have no doubt it's exactly the same in medicine, with fewer publications coming from communities with greater need.

So really it's a social problem, the usual story of a handful of rich a..eholes screwing over literally everyone else to make megabucks. The solution seems to be hosting our own pdfs and refusing to do free work for said a..eholes, and more generally I think conversations about science and scientists' careers should look less at stuff like journal "prestige".
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Holylol » Fri Feb 25, 2022 11:54 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:54 pm
The solution seems to be hosting our own pdfs and refusing to do free work for said a..eholes, and more generally I think conversations about science and scientists' careers should look less at stuff like journal "prestige".
But the "should look less at stuff like journal "prestige"" is doing a lot of work here. Who is defining the evaluation criteria? These are the people to convince that said criteria should change. And these people are not well intentioned young academics.

If you work in a field where there are some decent society journals (or other models) that are well considered for evaluations, then I absolutely agree that there should be a push by academics to publish and review mostly there. But there are areas of science (*cough* many engineering disciplines) that are mostly "under control" of either big publishers or societies that are honestly not much better in terms of extracting money from universities. And some people don't really feel comfortable refusing to review for journals where they send their manuscripts.

So far, bottom-up approaches (academics starting a journal) seem to have failed. I think top-down approaches are more likely to succeed, where the people holding the money set conditions on where to publish with their money (and how they evaluate grant applications). There are some interesting steps in that direction with some funders, but as you expect institutional funding agencies get lobbied the f.ck out. This is how you end up with a Plan S that is mostly pointless, apart from providing the ability to upload your final authors' manuscript on public repositories.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Holylol » Sat Feb 26, 2022 12:04 am

Plan S could have been amazing if part of the plan was to fund overlay journals (associated with preprint servers), with commitments by the funders that are part of Plan S to incite grant recipients to publish there and to consider these venues correctly for grant evaluations.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by secret squirrel » Sat Feb 26, 2022 3:02 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:42 pm
In my field (ecology & evolution), about half of papers are run by learned societies - and they're amongst the least affordable. Publishing - via professional publishers, be it through subscriptions or APCs - brings in a huge proportion of many societies' income, and several such journals have had editorials against open access because of the threat it apparently poses to societies.

That said, even if we still have to submit to profiteering journals, I'd agree it's a no-brainer to stop reviewing and editing for them. We're all always whingeing about workloads, and working for billionaires for free is a mug's game. Prioritising work for ethical journals is a good way to expand their bandwidth.

Similarly I only keep an eye on TOCs from ethical journals, they're the only ones I follow on twitter, etc., which means organically they're also the main outlets I cite. (Sadly I'm nowhere near productive enough for this to matter much!)
Interesting about society journals in ecology (I think I heard somewhere that chemistry is similar). In maths the main society journals are usually pretty affordable. The culture in maths is that you can put all your work up on arXiv as a 'preprint'. Technically it's supposed to be a pre-review version, but a lot of people, including me, put up a fully corrected version lacking only the mistakes added by the publisher in the name of 'typesetting'. So journal submission for us isn't really about access at all, as it's weird for someone to not put their work up on arXiv.

You can stop reviewing for capitalist publishers, but if you're still submitting there then who's reviewing your work? Either nobody, in which case the commercial system grinds to a halt and you have to deal with the problem that the ethical sector can't currently fill the void, and would need significant reorganization in order to do so. Or the system grinds on, in which case you're relying on other people to do the 'unethical' reviewing work for you. Even if you do the same amount of reviewing as before, and so aren't just leaching off the work of others, someone out there would have to be reviewing more for the capitalist press than for ethical publishers to balance it out. Also, any extra constraints added to the 'find a reviewer' problem slow down the system overall, making it work less well for everyone.

I guess a third alternative is that capitalist publishers could start paying reviewers, but it's not clear what perverse incentives this would introduce. Also, we are paid to review already, as this is part of our service work. Granted our employers fail to recognize this work appropriately, but this is a different problem.

As I said before, the rational approach would be for the institutions with an incentive to stop giving money to capitalist publishers to organize expansion of the ethical sector, and they could incorporate better recognition for good reviewing work into that. But this is unlikely to happen because in order to advance in these institutions you need to also advance within the traditional journal system. So the people well placed to implement change are likely to be people who least want it.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Allo V Psycho » Sun Feb 27, 2022 9:35 am

One of my learned societies started a free online journal. It proved very popular, and people started sending their papers there. Unfortunately, this also included the dross some couldn't get published elsewhere. So the admin work of just keeping up with handling the manuscripts got bigger and bigger, beyond the capacity of the ethical volunteer editorial board to cope. It got to the point where either they had to employ people to help, or give up. So they went to Pay to Publish. Still about half the price of many other journals, but it isn't BMJ, and if I want to publish in BMJ (and I do, I do, because that enhances the careers of my post-doc and junior colleague co-authors*) I still have to find £3k, in a field where there are few grants, and no research council money to pay for publication even when you have a grant.

*Holylol made a similar point. Once you start to become a bit successful as a researcher, you start to acquire responsibilities. There are technicians and PGRAs and PDRAs and PhD students. You know them, they are probably friends as well as colleagues, and YOU are responsible for bringing in the grants that pay their mortgages and feed the kids you have dandled on your knee.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Chris Preston » Mon Feb 28, 2022 5:36 am

I am reminded of a famous quote from Winston Churchill about democracy.

As Holylol above wrote, bottom up approaches to this problem are not going to succeed. The individual return on investment for practicing scientist to make significant change is very poor. Leaving aside the fact that I am judged on where I publish*, I also want my best work to be read by as many people as possible (hence my paper published in PNAS this week). Putting that in a journal that hardly anyone reads creates additional penalties for myself, the students and collaborators. So it is not just the bean counters driving this, many scientists also have a lot to lose by making change.

At the beginning I thought that open access would end up changing the structure of scientific publishing. It has to a point, but open access has also become significantly infested with fraud. Even Nature's Scientific Reports is full of abject nonsense. I don't want my work sitting in places that have a reputation for publishing any old junk science. We have also seen in the COVID-19 pandemic how pre-print servers have been used to push ideological drivel masquerading as science. For me the whole open access experiment has been a big disappointment.

Certainly, scientists could stop doing peer-review for commercial journals. There is a downside to that. It will make editors take a more jaundiced view of your own submissions. I know of one society journal that refuses to accept your manuscripts unless you are prepared to peer review for them.

Is there a solution? There probably is, but it requires the creation of a new incentive scheme. I can't afford to penalise the students and collaborators by not publishing in the higher impact journals. There needs to be an effective incentive to make me change my ways.

*I do have some sympathy for the bean counters and their focus on citations, impact factor and H index. They do need some way to judge whether I am providing value for money and whether they should continue to pay my salary compared to someone who works on the sex lives of anteaters. There are other measures that can be included, but many of those are also driven by where you publish.
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Feb 28, 2022 5:52 am

In maths, in recent years there have been several high profile 'defections', where whole editorial boards of journals for big commercial presses have resigned and set up a new journal pitched at the same prestige level on a more ethical basis (often either diamond open access or subscription but very cheap). This seems to work quite well, in the sense that these journals do end up carrying over the prestige of the original version, though there are a couple of transition years while the new journal gains things sometimes deemed necessary for 'official' recognition (e.g. an impact factor). There have also been completely new journals set up aiming for high quality and good ethics (in various ways). The problem is these journals are usually fairly small and close to top-tier, so the issue that most papers must by necessity be published by capitalist publishers remains.

At the end of the day, it's much easier to get a small group of high profile people to sign on to be editors of a top journal that publishes a handful of papers a year than it is to get a lot more people to sign on to be editors of a new mid-level journal that aims to publish a significant fraction of work in the field. My point here is that it is possible in principle to set up new ethical journals that serve the purposes of being widely read and imbuing the required prestige to their authors, but doing this at sufficient scale to make much of a difference requires coordination at a high level that doesn't seem to be close to happening.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Allo V Psycho » Mon Feb 28, 2022 9:01 am

Chris Preston wrote:
Mon Feb 28, 2022 5:36 am
I am reminded of a famous quote from Winston Churchill about democracy.

As Holylol above wrote, bottom up approaches to this problem are not going to succeed. The individual return on investment for practicing scientist to make significant change is very poor. Leaving aside the fact that I am judged on where I publish*, I also want my best work to be read by as many people as possible (hence my paper published in PNAS this week). Putting that in a journal that hardly anyone reads creates additional penalties for myself, the students and collaborators. So it is not just the bean counters driving this, many scientists also have a lot to lose by making change.

At the beginning I thought that open access would end up changing the structure of scientific publishing. It has to a point, but open access has also become significantly infested with fraud. Even Nature's Scientific Reports is full of abject nonsense. I don't want my work sitting in places that have a reputation for publishing any old junk science. We have also seen in the COVID-19 pandemic how pre-print servers have been used to push ideological drivel masquerading as science. For me the whole open access experiment has been a big disappointment.

Certainly, scientists could stop doing peer-review for commercial journals. There is a downside to that. It will make editors take a more jaundiced view of your own submissions. I know of one society journal that refuses to accept your manuscripts unless you are prepared to peer review for them.

Is there a solution? There probably is, but it requires the creation of a new incentive scheme. I can't afford to penalise the students and collaborators by not publishing in the higher impact journals. There needs to be an effective incentive to make me change my ways.

*I do have some sympathy for the bean counters and their focus on citations, impact factor and H index. They do need some way to judge whether I am providing value for money and whether they should continue to pay my salary compared to someone who works on the sex lives of anteaters. There are other measures that can be included, but many of those are also driven by where you publish.
The fact that I read this, nodding along to all the sage points that you make, and still my first instinctive thought at the end was:

Spoiler:


reveals more about how I think than I might have realised.

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Chris Preston » Mon Feb 28, 2022 9:24 am

I think it helps illustrate why it will be hard to get the current publishing model changed.

Spoiler:
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:47 am

Yes, good points from Holylol and Chris.

As the article states, it's a collective action problem, which will require leadership to tackle.

For instance, learned societies often give grants, including to ECRs. Their assessment criteria could include measures to avoid penalising applicants for making ethical decisions. Professors on hiring and grant panels should be more vocal about it too.

I don't blame anyone for wanting to publish in PNAS (congrats). On the other hand, if I wanted wider readership of one of my papers, I'd have to factor in the fact that I don't have $5k for the OA fee. I don't think the majority of ECRs, who are in my position, should be penalised because a privileged few can afford to game the system.

I'm not having a go at you - "don't hate the player, hate the game," as a wise academic once said - I think you're right to aim for the best for your own ECRs and collaborators. But nevertheless the elitism inherent to the current system obviously disadvantages ECRs the most, by creating yet another headwind in the uphill struggle they face if they're not from a wealthy institution/country/funder.
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:50 am

Signing one's work over to unethical publishers also has further complications, for instance -
Scientists working with one of the world’s largest climate research publishers say they’re increasingly alarmed that the company works with the fossil fuel industry to help increase oil and gas drilling, the Guardian can reveal.

Elsevier, a Dutch company behind many renowned peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the Lancet and Global Environmental Change, is also one of the top publishers of books aimed at expanding fossil fuel production.

For more than a decade, the company has supported the energy industry’s efforts to optimize oil and gas extraction. It commissions authors, editors and journal advisory board members who are employees at top oil firms. Elsevier also markets some of its research portals and data services directly to the oil and gas industry to help “increase the odds of exploration success”.

Several former and current employees say that for the past year, dozens of workers have spoken out internally and at company-wide town halls to urge Elsevier to reconsider its relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

“When I first started, I heard a lot about the company’s climate commitments,” said a former Elsevier journal editor who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. “Eventually I just realized it was all marketing, which is really upsetting because Elsevier has published all the research it needs to know exactly what to do if it wants to make a meaningful difference.”

What makes Elsevier’s ties to the fossil fuel industry particularly alarming to its critics is that it is one of a handful of companies that publish peer-reviewed climate research. Scientists and academics say they’re concerned that Elsevier’s conflicting business interests risk undermining their work.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ssil-fuels

Climate researchers tend to be a fairly activist bunch, for obvious reasons. But it's a bit sad to see them earnestly trying to reform capitalist interests by asking nicely, when their own day-to-day work ought to make it abundantly clear that that doesn't work.
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Feb 28, 2022 1:13 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Mon Feb 28, 2022 9:01 am
Spoiler:
Spoiler:
Something something hammer something something nail

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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by Allo V Psycho » Mon Feb 28, 2022 2:21 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Feb 28, 2022 1:13 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Mon Feb 28, 2022 9:01 am
Spoiler:
Spoiler:
Oh, yeah, I know these journals can publish shite, often, I think, related to the chances of the 'story' making it into the media. Nature once published a letter where the authors graphed time of year against the dates at which historical battles took place. There was a nice normal distribution with battles being more likely to occur in summer and autumn than in winter. They plotted both northern and southern hemispheres, which were obviously complementary in terms of calendar months.
Their conclusion? That sunlight makes people aggressive, I sh.t you not.
I wrote to suggest that the difficulties of campaigning in winter were perhaps more likely to be significantly factors than the possibility of outbreaks of benign winter kindness on the part of the average legionnaire in the Clapham cohort. But Nature declined to publish my letter.

Still, Steamy, congratulation on a first author paper in PNAS! That's amazing! It must be really good work! :D :D :D

tom p
After Pie
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Re: Ethical scientific publishing

Post by tom p » Tue Mar 01, 2022 4:12 pm

Holylol wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 11:54 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:54 pm
The solution seems to be hosting our own pdfs and refusing to do free work for said a..eholes, and more generally I think conversations about science and scientists' careers should look less at stuff like journal "prestige".
But the "should look less at stuff like journal "prestige"" is doing a lot of work here. Who is defining the evaluation criteria? These are the people to convince that said criteria should change. And these people are not well intentioned young academics.

If you work in a field where there are some decent society journals (or other models) that are well considered for evaluations, then I absolutely agree that there should be a push by academics to publish and review mostly there. But there are areas of science (*cough* many engineering disciplines) that are mostly "under control" of either big publishers or societies that are honestly not much better in terms of extracting money from universities. And some people don't really feel comfortable refusing to review for journals where they send their manuscripts.

So far, bottom-up approaches (academics starting a journal) seem to have failed. I think top-down approaches are more likely to succeed, where the people holding the money set conditions on where to publish with their money (and how they evaluate grant applications). There are some interesting steps in that direction with some funders, but as you expect institutional funding agencies get lobbied the f.ck out. This is how you end up with a Plan S that is mostly pointless, apart from providing the ability to upload your final authors' manuscript on public repositories.
In the UK it'll be the department for education. It's an easy metric (#publications x impact factor of journals for each publication*) & it seems kinda sciencey & learnedy, so it's what's measured and what's measured distorts what's targeted

*I can't remember exactly what it is; but it's summat like that, if memory serves

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