SHOULD ACADEMIC ARTICLES BE FREE ONLINE.
Here is my comment:
The vast bulk of journal revenue comes from advertising & institutional sales, both to libraries & to academic departments. Institutional subscriptions cost thousands of dollars per subscription but that affords access to students & academics who cannot pay $35 per published paper to stay current in their fields. The reason why all papers should be free to at least read, is that recently in increased scrutiny of published, peer-reviewed research has revealed far more research fraud & misconduct, than ever suspected. Rigged results, faked references, non-independent or false peer-reviewers, competing conflicts of interest, are rife & the detection of misconduct attracts very little funding or interest. High impact factor journals attract more misconduct & fraud due to their power & prestige & like Universities, engage in reputation management in policing fraud & misconduct. Ope n source publishing is spreading exponentially but along with rapid growth has come the familiar reputation management & reluctance to discuss, let alone retract, flawed publications. Peer reviewers, journal editors & readers never get to examine de-identified raw data & experts believe that this has led to a false sense of security that it’s only “a few bad apples” who eventually get found out anyway. Nothing could be further from the truth! Behind the scenes, lies a bloody battleground, as researchers clamour to be published at all costs……including at the cost of publishing fakery. The establishment of toothless research integrity organisations has had almost no effect on the publication of false or misleading research as once again, raw data remains hidden. Change is happening BUT requires the use of several lines of attack in order that we can trust the veracity of what we read. Mandatory deposit of all Raw Data into freely accessible data repositories is essential & has already begun to be implemented in some areas. When peer reviewers cannot get to see & scrutinise raw data, their conclusions must be suspect & incomplete. Moves are afoot in several locations to legislate to include research fraud & misconduct under the criminal code, with appropriate criminal code penalties, just like those for fraud in other arenas of life. Far too much published research isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and therefore should definitely not have to be purchased to read. On the contrary, being published should be seen as a privilege, an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to one’s field & to humanity. Proper, commercially independent funding of research & researchers should be seen by governments & communities as a crucial investment in future security & prosperity & rather than allowing its corruption by ego, avarice & the almighty dollar, ethical, honestly produ ced & published research, should be treated as a precious community asset for all to access, enjoy, learn & benefit from.
Jerome Gelb —— 2013-02-11 21:52:16