Commenter and PLoS employee Bora Zivkovic directs interested readers to a blog post of his compiling comments from a very large number of science bloggers who are skeptical (to understate) about the conclusions drawn by the Nature article about PLoS’ difficulties that I linked yesterday.
Based on my gloss of those comments, I would not exactly say the article’s been debunked — I’d reserve that judgment for when I’ve actually read and understood the arguments about the financial metrics used in the NATURE article, which at this writing I have not. However, some of the article’s premises have been questioned, and well (Does a high acceptance rate really constitute a dumping ground? Is it bad that PLoS is relying on grants and charity rather than subscriptions for its income?). Arguably this is more important than whether the graph is right. If it’s OK for scientific journals to feed off the taxpayer, then this business of grants vs. commercial income is irrelevant. I think this is an open question, though.
A quick roundup of some of the more compelling points (yes, I’m aware that it’s at least slightly lame to create a roundup of a roundup; this is as much for my own future reading as anything else):
- Richard Gayle points out that NATURE didn’t make a profit for over 30 years.
- Lars Juhl Jensen plots impact factors over PLoS vs. NPG journals; the means are similar but NPG journals are more skewed.
- NPG’s Timo Hannay lashes back at the backlash.
- Mike the Mad Biologist refuses to review articles for closed-access journals.
In the unlikely event that anyone new has been drawn to this issue through my blog, though, I would like to reiterate a question I posed in the last post. STRANGE HORIZONS pays its authors and its editors and distributes content for free. Why do scientific journals need to get paid by authors?
More later… I’ve got a lecture on the oculomotor system that I really ought to attend.