Posts filed under ‘Computers in science’
I was kind of hoping I would be able to get a little vacation away from Open Access, but it seems to be chasing me around. There is a lot of hype in the Interwebs about a Merck spin-off non-profit organization called Sage. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, please see here, here, and for a more skeptical approach here and here. Open Access supporters are cheering loudly to praise the pharmaceutical giant for their good will in supposedly donating a huge amount of data to the project. The founders, Stephen Friend and Eric Schadt, liken the project to a new “Science Facebook” and happily paint the future of drug discovery with bright colors as a network of scientists all interacting together for the greater good of the society. However, there is virtually nothing on what the system is going to look like and what it is going to contain. After some more googling, I found this interview with Schadt, which sheds a bit more light on the whole deal.
In my last three posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) I have talked about several aspects of Open Access publishing, mostly criticizing what I felt were weaknesses in the model as it stands today. If you haven’t read my posts, I invite you to do so now, before you proceed. I also recommend related posts by Coturnix and Cameron and the discussions that followed, as well as the discussion of my posts in the Science 2.0 friendfeed room.
The feedback I got was mixed – ranging from cautious support, to ridicule and outrage. Most comments, however, were very informative and insightful, if not always supportive of my way of thinking. I enjoyed the whole experience thoroughly. It is a rare pleasure for me to have an intelligent discussion with extremely bright and passionate people and I hope that through the attention my blog got in the process I will be able to enjoy that pleasure on a more regular basis.
To conclude the discussion, I would like to share my last thoughts in the form of an appeal to all of you actively engaged in the great Open Access experiment. (more…)
I am having a blast! So this is what it feels like when you sell your soul. Dr. Lootzeepfehr (a German name, I suppose), with whom the transaction was effected, told me it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would be THAT much fun. My blog stats are totally out the roof, and Coturnix is having a Jedi Council meeting over at the Science 2.0 friendfeed page about my blasphemous heresies regarding Open Access. The OA Jedi knights thought I would never know, but one of my spy drones spotted a disturbance in the Force in the blogosphere and decided to take a closer look. BTW, Coturnix, would it be too bold on my part to ask you to link to my posts up on “Blog around the Clock“?*** I think that at least the theme of the posts is well aligned with your blog’s profile. The OA community deserves to know the heretical views of the unbelievers. “Know thy enemy” is key to victory, at least that’s what two of Lootzeepfehr’s buddies, Sun Tzu and Niccolo Machiavelli, told me.
During the aforementioned council Mr. Gunn called my scholarly discourse here and here a “snippy little rant”. Well, Mr. Gunn, you ain’t seen me rant yet! But now rant I shall, because (1) you are virtually begging for it (2) I have come across a totally rantable statement, namely that upfront editorial decisions are a thing of the past and that the future belongs to post-print open access review process (I may have simplified it a little, but this is that’s the gist of it). Read on at your own risk. (more…)
In my previous post I made a bold statement comparing Open Access publishing to socialism. The post was criticized in a number of insightful comments, but hey, I knew I had it coming. There are a lot of people very strongly emotionally attached to OA, and a voice pointing out the weaknesses of this publishing model was bound to cause an uproar. I am glad, because thanks to all the criticisms I heard I have been able to learn a great deal and to see the problem from a number of different angles. But, call it stubornness or whatever, I am still not convinced that OA publishing is on its way to take over the world of high impact scientific publishing. In fact, the extra mile the comments on the blog made me walk resulted in my being more set in my opinion that OA is not the way to go for top-tier biomedical research journals.
“Open Access is the best thing since sliced bread” I hear a lot of scientists say. The blogosphere overflows with enthusiastic support for OA. Hey, even I expressed some guarded optimism in some of my previous posts. This unconditional love for the NewestAndHawtest publishing model is very common, but is it really justified? More importantly still, will those same ardent OA supporters put their money where their mouths are? I am not so sure.
Anyone knows who John Wilbanks is? Well, I just found out. Recently a post on slashdot caught my attention – it was both science-y and geeky – a combo I simply couldn’t resist. It linked to an interview with the said John Wilbanks, where he speaks very wisely indeed about some of the central issues of modern science: scientific communication, open access publishing, data accessibility and storage, and more. John is VP of Science at Creative Commons (article on Wikipedia) an organization whose sole purpose is to make it easier for people to share their creative work if they so desire (check out this movie on YouTube for a no-brainer explanation of how it works, and this website for another movie on how it relates to science). As the interview is rather lengthy, I decided to summarize its main themes in this post, and, well, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t take the liberty to venture a few opinions of my own.
In my three recent posts I have expounded on what I think is the way scientific publications should look and feel like in the 21st century (Part1, Part2, Part3). So is there a take home message? I believe there is.