Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

15 seconds of fame

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been blogging for over a week; I was in Madrid giving a talk in which I tried to make the point that we don’t discriminate against authors on the basis of nationality, language or any other non-scientific aspect. In a previous entry, I had already shared some data to back this statement up, and I used the same and additional data during the talk to drive the point home. It was quite amusing to see that some people still didn’t believe me: “sure, I can see that your graphs show that you don’t discriminate, but I still don’t believe you”. What is there left to say?

In any case, I must confess that the talk got a little boring when people started asking me questions about open-access publishing. It was fascinating to see how difficult it was for some people to understand that scientfic publishing costs money, and that there are different models to recover your costs — the author-pays model, the subscription model, and everything in between. The talk got boring (at least to me) because I have very little patience with this discussion when people stop putting forward compelling arguments in support of their ideas or, as in this case, when people just don’t seem to want to get the simple point I was trying to make: as there are different models, publishing groups ought to choose the model that works best for each of them. In our case, the subscription-based model is the only one that seems viable for the time being. How difficult is it to get this point?

Anyway, a funny thing was that there was a lot of press covering the talk, which was part of a larger event organized by our Madrid office to present a new “How to publish in the Nature journals” guide in Spanish (I’ll write an entry about the guide some other day). As a result, a couple of newspapers ran stories and interviews with yours truly, and there’s even this video I found. Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    络龙医搜 said:

    Yes, I have noticed you haven’t been blogging for over a week.

    Perhaps a long time everyone will believe you.

  2. Report this comment

    Massimo Sandal said:

    I must confess that the talk got a little boring when people started asking me questions about open-access publishing. It was fascinating to see how difficult it was for some people to understand that scientfic publishing costs money, and that there are different models to recover your costs — the author-pays model, the subscription model, and everything in between. The talk got boring (at least to me) because I have very little patience with this discussion when people stop putting forward compelling arguments in support of their ideas or, as in this case, when people just don’t seem to want to get the simple point I was trying to make: as there are different models, publishing groups ought to choose the model that works best for each of them. In our case, the subscription-based model is the only one that seems viable for the time being. How difficult is it to get this point?

    It is difficult because there is at least one example of a public, working, respected open access literature archive.

    This is arXiv.

    Once you justify why should we pay more than we pay for arXiv, discussion can start.

    You can tell me arXiv stuff is not peer reviewed but peer review is mostly unpaid work, notoriously, so adding peer review to a free, open access archive does not look impossible to me.

    REPLY FROM JCL:

    There have been several attempts at doing something like what they do at arXiv for the life sciences, and nothing has worked. The physical sciences seem to be somehow different from the biological sciences.

    But be my guest; if you find a successful arXiv-like formula for the biological sciences, then I’ll change my point of view, sure.