Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media

Tipping Point For Open Access CS Research? 116

Posted by timothy
from the solidarity-brother dept.
First time accepted submitter trombonehero writes "Prominent Computer Science researchers from Google, Microsoft and UC Berkeley are starting to sign the 'Research Without Walls' pledge, promising to never be involved in peer review for a venue that does not make publications available to the public for free. Others have made similar pledges in isolation; could this be the start of something big?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tipping Point For Open Access CS Research?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The free market would correctly price and maximize the speed at which research is done. It has been proven by history and is under attack by the modern socialist hippie culture. The one thing we could do to help is to reduce the amount of patent trolling.
    • Absolutely. After all, just look at what the free market has done for our banking system.

      • by mfwitten (1906728)

        What is this bizarre fetish people have for insisting that the centralized banking system (and the world's economy, for that matter) is in any way based on a free market?

        Big Banks, Big Business, and Government are intricately intertwined; that makes what the world has a corporatist market. Capitalism is about lowering barriers to entry, but the powers that be do everything that they can to regulate competitors out of existence.

        • by mfwitten (1906728)

          I should add that while it's certainly possible for a monopoly to develop in a free market, it's not necessarily an inherently bad thing; as long as Walmart is putting every "Mom & Pop" shop out of business because Walmart can deliver the same/better service for cheaper/same price, then that's a good thing (Mom and Pop should find some other way to contribute to society).

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Wal-mart does not deliver the same/better service, they offer an inferior product (if it's not inferior when they start, they often demand that they product be cheaped down so they can sell it, and yet also demand that the product be no different from what appears in the same package at other retailers, thus crapping up whole product lines because of their clout) and inferior service at a price so low that it's difficult to justify going anywhere else.

            Mom and pop still need to find another way to contribute

      • by superwiz (655733)
        What free markets? Banking is one of the most regulated industries we have. Ever wonder why there is "checking" and "savings" accounts? There is all kinds of types of banking accounts in countries where banks are less regulated. All this safety and homogenization comes at a price. Any time a regulatory wind blows the wrong way, it creates a disaster (because it effects everyone).
        • It's not just the regulations, it's the close ties between the banking and gov't. When the Treasury and Fed are both watching out for their personal bank interests of course there are going to be problems.
    • by xelah (176252)

      The free market would correctly price and maximize the speed at which research is done.

      What's a 'free market'? Why would it correctly price the research? Why would it maximize its speed? How do you know that maximizing speed and correctly pricing are consistent, presuming that maximizing speed reduces quality and increases cost? Are you thinking, perhaps, of the first theorem of welfare economics, which does indeed show that competitive markets (not 'free') correctly price everything under certain conditions?

      It has been proven by history and is under attack by the modern socialist hippie culture.

      Which history? When has research been produced by a 'free market'?

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:51AM (#37803812) Homepage

    [C]ould this be the start of something big?

    Call me when you get medical researchers to sign up for something like this. CS is a small backwater that the general public (and other fields, frankly) will not notice.

    It's a good thing, but not necessarily earth-shattering. It would be nice to see articles out from behind the IEEE and ACM paywalls, though.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      This is surely a start, and may be an example wich others will follow.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Well, if I understood correctly Physics already do that. Anything that's worth reading in physic is on arXiv. The questoin is whether computer science will start following the physics style or will keep on following the medical style.

      • arXiv holds pre-prints, and several fields, including some CS research, not only Physics uses the service. It doesn't count as publication in the academic world, since papers are not reviewed, so the entire edifice by which scholars get credit for their work doesn't apply. The open access movement, on the other hand, does apply to publications that count toward a scholar's reviewed work. Physics as a field, incidentally, is one of the more hide-bound in terms of adopting new publication schemes.
    • by Beetle B. (516615)

      Call me when you get medical researchers to sign up for something like this.

      All papers whose work was funded by the NIH is required to be open access [nih.gov].

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      I agree with the "No" for the long term. It will be nice and everyone's happy until someone (management) realizes they are not maximizing their profit potential, initializing the echelon, spanking the baby, or whatever market-speak term is popular at the time. And then start charging money.

      I seriously hope I'm wrong and this works. I'm just a bit of a pessimist.

    • It would be nice to see articles out from behind the IEEE and ACM paywalls, though.

      Many articles available on ACM are actually availble elsewhere outside of the paywalls. Every publication I've ever made is on both ACM behind the paywall and my personal site and uni sites for free. I personally just google the name of what I want to read and it often turns up somewhere for free (legitimately). Not ideal though I know.

      As mentioned by someone else, ACM has now started a linking service effectively allowing free publication through ACM. Haven't got round to sorting it for my stuff yet, but l

  • As of this week, ACM authors can now post copies on their personal/institution website, through a somewhat convoluted process. I think ACM already let you do this (I've never had any cease and desists in any case), but this is now integrated into their digital library and contributes towards your download count. A small step, but a good step.
    • by six11 (579)

      Thanks for pointing that out. Download count is not really important for tenure cases but it does help gauge interest. I might just have to point my own paper PDF links to ACM now to start tracking that.

  • This *is* big (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwheeler (321049) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:58AM (#37803838) Homepage Journal
    This is big. There are a lot of parasitic journals today, that is, journals that take work the public paid for, and lock it behind paywalls. Parasitic journals typically use big-name free labor from to do the peer reviews. If the world removes from the parasites many good peer reviewers, as well as many good papers (through policies like the NIH Public Access policy [nih.gov]), then they will have to change or fold. I don't have a problem with organizations paying for work to be done, and then charging for use of the result. For example, most fiction authors get at least some money for their labor (not a lot, but at least some). In contrast, parasitic journals typically take publicly-funded stuff away from the public; time to change. By the way, there are a number of journals and publications that have always done this, like ACSAC. If authors would simply ONLY submit their works to open access journals and publications, the parasites would disappear.
    • Re:This *is* big (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fish waffle (179067) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @10:24AM (#37803988)

      If authors would simply ONLY submit their works to open access journals and publications, the parasites would disappear.

      The problem here is that someone needs to organize these things. Someone has to pay for the bandwidth, buy and run the servers, spend effort soliciting reviewers, run the reviewing software, respond to questions, request ISBNs, submit the work to indexing sites, etc etc etc..

      Open access journals address this by having a publication fee, or by advertising, or by seeking volunteers and asking for charity. Paying for publication gets blurry with vanity press, and advertising ends up sucking up to the advertisers. Volunteering and charity seem wonderful, but have to compete with lots of other worthy causes.

      In CS, most of the major publishers allow you to post a copy of your paper on your personal website (as long as you also link to the official version). Finding papers outside of the paywalls is only difficult when the authors are in industry (but those aren't the publicly funded papers you're talking about anyway).

      • Re:This *is* big (Score:5, Informative)

        by JanneM (7445) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @10:34AM (#37804044) Homepage

        You do realize, I hope, that many, if not most, for-profit journals also have publication fees? That includes a good number of very high-profile journals, and the fees are generally as high or higher than open access journals. Journal of Neuroscience, for instance, will charge you just north of $1000 for a paper - $950 in publication fee and $120 just to submit the paper.

        Open Access journals are in general no more expensive to publish in that for-profit journals, and they have more generous exceptions for people that find it difficult to pay.

        • by Beetle B. (516615)

          You do realize, I hope, that many, if not most, for-profit journals also have publication fees?

          I don't, and while some perhaps do, I suspect most of the moderately prestigious ones don't. At least not the main ones in physics or IEEE.

          When I was in grad school, if someone told my advisor that a fee would be charged for publication, he'd give them an earful and publish elsewhere. And it's quite telling that he never did this because he was never asked for a fee.

          • They all do. The "prestigious" ones especially and yes IEEE does too. 50USD per page is about as low as it gets. I have paid over 2000USD in some cases for my papers. Every single one has page charges, i know of no exceptions. I think your adviser is not telling you everything.
            • Re:This *is* big (Score:4, Informative)

              by Beetle B. (516615) <beetle_b@@@email...com> on Saturday October 22, 2011 @01:31PM (#37805296)

              They all do. The "prestigious" ones especially and yes IEEE does too.

              From the IEEE submission guidelines [ieee.org]:

              Voluntary Page Charges and Reprints: After a manuscript has been accepted for publication, the author's company or institution will be asked to pay a voluntary charge to cover part of the cost of publication. IEEE page charges are not obligatory, and payment is not a prerequisite for publication. The author will receive 100 free reprints if the charge is honored. Detailed instructions on page charges and on ordering reprints will accompany the proof.

              Emphasis mine.

              • by tsa (15680)

                Yeah right. Have you ever tried not paying to get your article published? Those charges are about as voluntary as paying for something in a shop.

                • by Beetle B. (516615)

                  Yeah right. Have you ever tried not paying to get your article published?

                  Perhaps you didn't bother reading my earlier messages.

                  I didn't pay.

                  My adviser didn't pay. The one time he was asked to pay for publication, it was because he had submitted to an open access journal. When he found out they required money, he remarked that the open access model's going to fail because they require money whereas the traditional ones don't.

                  If you paid, then either:

                  • You submitted to an open access journal. This may be common in the medical/biology sector.
                  • You wanted special treatment (e.g. color i
                  • Your adviser is just not telling you. Hell in most departments it is not llke you see the bill personally or that it even comes out of grant money. Many departments have a separate account for something like that are glad to pay it since publications look good. My departments are typically very small however so i do see all this. Case in point even 2000USD is not much compared to running a lab. But the fees are there, and you should see what the likes of IEEE or Science charge the University library for a s
                    • by Beetle B. (516615)

                      Your adviser is just not telling you.

                      OK - Now you're just being stupid.

                      Explain why my adviser would complain about paying for open access journals, and comment that normal journals don't ask for money, while paying for money in normal journals.

                      But the fees are there, and you should see what the likes of IEEE or Science charge the University library for a subscription.

                      I'm well aware of it, and it's completely irrelevant. We're discussing if one has to pay to publish, not if one has to pay to subscribe.

      • The problem here is that someone needs to organize these things.

        True, but not relevant. The necessary organization and infrastructure can be done quite cheaply, if organizations are willing to move from the past to the present.

        Someone has to pay for the bandwidth, buy and run the servers, spend effort soliciting reviewers, run the reviewing software, respond to questions, request ISBNs, submit the work to indexing sites, etc etc etc..

        I think you're grossly overestimating the costs if they switch to an exclusively digital realm, which is where they need to go. Bandwidth and running basic servers (which is all that's needed) are commodities. WebHostGiant will provide bandwidth and basic servers for $2.79/month with no bandwidth maximum. A serious journal will want more th

  • by godrik (1287354) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @10:15AM (#37803938)

    And the one that matter for me (a researcher) is how I get funded. Basically I get funded when I can convince other people of how good I am. To estimate that, they look WHERE I am publishing my research; and most likely, they do not look at WHAT I am saying. The name of the conference or the journal is what matters most. What you are actually doing is not so important.

    I know that suck. It makes me cry at night. But that is what it is. If I came not to publish in journal with no public open access, I won't be able to publish in journals that matter in my field. So I won't get funded.

    I totally agree the public should be able to read what ever we write. But I can not give up my funding. (For the record: no funding, no food on my table.)

    Moreover, that's basically a false issue. All journals and conference allow you to publish pre-print on your website. All my papers are on my website or in arxiv. So I am not even sure it matters so much.

    Of course, complete open access for everybody would be better.

    • by jameson (54982) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @10:47AM (#37804146) Homepage

      The pledge is not about not submitting to these venues. It's about not reviewing for them.

      • Pledge aside, it would be nice if the set of Google folks who signed up would start submitting some more of their work for publication. :) I understand that publication record doesn't count much internally at Google (unlike in more traditional corporate labs.).
      • by godrik (1287354)

        It is completely hyprocrit to submit paper to a journal and refusing to review for it on moral grounds.

        When you submit a paper you consume reviewer time from peers. You have to give that time back to the community by reviewing papers.

        You could claim that the publisher makes a lot of money on free labor from reviewers and that reviewers should be paid (which would make sense). But that wont make you progress toward open access journals.

        • by im3w1l (2009474)
          You, it is the smart move. Since the return for publishing in a high prestige journal is so great, it is unreasonable to ask people not to publish there. Asking people not to review for them is something that wont hurt the individual who practices that behavior. "When you submit a paper you consume reviewer time from peers. You have to give that time back to the community by reviewing papers." Or else? The journal fails? I think this is exactly what is intended...
        • by damiam (409504)
          You can give that time back to the community by reviewing papers for other, open-access, venues. That way you fulfill your community obligations while also helping support open-access publishing.
        • by zachie (2491880)

          Researchers get paid to get great papers published in renowned conferences or journals. This is the metric of success that will be used against them. No papers in top conferences, you are done. Peer review instead is basically on a volunteer basis. Your company won't fire you for not reviewing for this or that conference.

          So, these researchers are doing what they can without jeopardizing their careers.

          If you have a better idea on how to push for openness in research that does not involve self immolation I th

    • by mdmkolbe (944892) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @11:40AM (#37804522)

      Actually, the ACM recently [r6.ca] refused to publish an author because he posted it on ArXiv.

      This was a copyright assignment issue, but it directly impacts the strategy you suggest. As an academic myself, the copyright assignment issue is as big an issue as open access. For example, ACM does not allow me to let others use any figures I publish with the ACM. Sorry, Wikipedia, I may have the perfect figure to illustrate one of your articles, but the ACM won't let me give it to you.

      I'm not even allowed to use my own figures for my own uses unless I put an ACM copyright notice on every copy of the figure and every slide with such a figure. This is not consistent with academic practice and custom (almost all presentations at ACM conferences violate this rule).

      • If your institution has in-house counsel, ask them how small a change you could make in a figure to have it be considered a 'different' figure for copyright assignment purposes. If you do, I'd be interested in the answer you get.

      • by williamhb (758070)

        Actually, the ACM recently [r6.ca] refused to publish an author because he posted it on ArXiv.

        This was a copyright assignment issue, but it directly impacts the strategy you suggest. As an academic myself, the copyright assignment issue is as big an issue as open access. For example, ACM does not allow me to let others use any figures I publish with the ACM. Sorry, Wikipedia, I may have the perfect figure to illustrate one of your articles, but the ACM won't let me give it to you.

        I'm not even allowed to use my own figures for my own uses unless I put an ACM copyright notice on every copy of the figure and every slide with such a figure. This is not consistent with academic practice and custom (almost all presentations at ACM conferences violate this rule).

        This is one of the parts I consider most shocking. I could understand Springer or one of the commercial publishing houses being a pain like this -- they are for-profit businesses whose primary interest is supposed to be sustainability of their business. But IEEE, ACM, and others are learned societies -- charitable institutions whose raison d'être is to support science (rather than enclose and restrict it). And yet there are so many examples of them being, well, uncharitable and inhibiting the use of

        • by chihowa (366380) *

          This is one of the parts I consider most shocking. I could understand Springer or one of the commercial publishing houses being a pain like this -- they are for-profit businesses whose primary interest is supposed to be sustainability of their business. But IEEE, ACM, and others are learned societies -- charitable institutions whose raison d'être is to support science (rather than enclose and restrict it). And yet there are so many examples of them being, well, uncharitable and inhibiting the use of science by scientists. They should be the ones pushing open access, not having to have it pushed upon them.

          I'm not sure about IEEE and ACM, but in chemistry, ACS (who publish the top chemistry journals) are huge opponents of open access. They are a professional society, but member dues are a drop in the bucket compared to what they make from the journals. I wouldn't be surprised if IEEE and ACM are the same. It feels dirty that they used my dues to lobby congress against all of the open access policies.

    • And universities having to pay extortion money ($5,000 per year in some cases for a single journal) is also a non-issue?
      You are simply describing as inevitable the mechanism by which parasites exploit your work, so you are just looking for the quick way out. Shortsighted.
      Not a false issue.

      • by godrik (1287354)

        Well, of course it is a real problem. I would love the system to just switch to openness in a night. I believe if the publication system was open it would work. Right now if I do not publish in high end journals (which happen to have access fees), I won't get funded. If I don't get funded I don't get paid and I need to find another job. Then who cares I am not reviewing for these journals? I am out of the system anyway.

        Of course I would love all publications to be freely available. But right now, it is a mo

    • they look WHERE I am publishing my research; and most likely, they do not look at WHAT I am saying

      It has become increasingly apparent that the value of education received in upper crust undergraduate programs or post graduate degrees rarely equates to the dollars spent. What people are really paying for is a premium rung on the social graph.

      It's rarely clear how one recovers the investment, unless you're one of the bright lights that launch onto a lucrative career track. How many humanities graduates eve

  • NO

    This is what politics looks like now

  • I don't know why the second link is really upset about the preprint policy. In fact, not long ago being allowed to put preprints on a public server was considered a victory.

    For those who don't know, a preprint is not the version you submitted to the journal, but the version just prior to publication: After the peer review, after the formatting, and after all corrections. It's the one they send to the author saying, "This is how your paper will look - do a a quick glance to see if you find any errors." It's

  • It's likely that many people here are sick of all the expensive academic periodicals that often contain interesting articles, but that almost no one without access to a university library can read... except perhaps for a summary. One of my interests is herpetology, which is pretty obscure, but nevertheless, there seem to be hundreds of periodicals published on this one very narrow subject alone. I've also heard stories about researchers who were upset to find out that their own papers, once published and o

  • I would be much more impressed with someone making a pledge to never peer review any article which doesn't include (at least in the appendix) the experimental data on which the article is based. Most current publications do not have the requirement to publish the data. Which makes all publications nothing but inherently unreliable claims.
  • Only a few researchers in each field need publish the findings of their field in order to quash the information hiding and distribution restricted activity which has created a "monopoly of knowledge". The players include the mega -corporate global feudal lords, the universities seeking to profit from government research findings, the insider publishers, the law makers, etc. This lock up the knowledge of science program behind closed high priced right person gated doors of copyright has transformed our suppl

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

Working...