During the last weeks many newspapers, websites and blogs reported on the planned boycott of the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) by the University of California (UC). This boycott is caused by a drastic increase of subcription fees (400%) for the “Nature” journal.
Besides the flood of reports, discussions and comments related to this topic, the following statement seems to be the most important in the whole debate about the traditional publication system in sciences:
In many ways it doesn’t matter where the work’s published, because scientists will be able to find it [...]
The statement has been made by Keith Yamamoto, professor of molecular biology and executive vice dean of the School of Medicine at UC-San Francisco. He is organizing the boycott against NPG and has experience with that. Some years ago he organized a similar and successful boycott against Elsevier.
The most important aspect to think about concerning the recent boycott is: do the scientists need the traditional scientific journals? In times of fast and always accessible possibilities for publishing own articles the role of conventional journals like Nature, Science, but also more topic-specialized journals, could decrease. Yamamoto and others want their colleagues to:
- Decline to peer review manuscripts for journals from the Nature Publishing Group.
- Resign from Nature Publishing Group editorial and advisory boards.
- Cease to submit papers to the Nature Publishing Group.
- Refrain from advertising any open or new UC positions in Nature Publishing Group journals.
- Talk widely about Nature Publishing Group pricing tactics and business strategies with colleagues outside UC, and encourage sympathy actions such as those listed above.
It seems quite crazy: the science pays money for journals, which publish the science results with the unpayed help of these scientists working as peer-reviewers, in the editorial and advisory boards. Thus, the science pays twice: it pays the scientists for their work for the publishers and it pays for receiving the own results in a jorunal. That there seems to be something wrong is marked by the increasing popularity of open-access journals. The PLoS-initiative is a interesting beginning of a revolution of scientific publishing.
So I hope the boycott by UC will be successful. By the way: it would be more successful, if NPG insists on the fee increase. In such a case, the open-access initiative would spread more rapidly in the scientific community, I think.
(via In Terras Veritas)