Monday, August 16, 2004

Boston.com / News / Nation / Internet publishing attracting academics

Boston.com / News / Nation / Internet publishing attracting academics "For more than 100 years, publication of major scientific and medical breakthroughs has been concentrated in a handful of prestigious journals. But the factors driving the shift to so-called open-access journals, including the reach and power of the Internet, rising subscription prices, and pressure from patients, are forcing changes in the world of scientific publishing. Universities are rebelling against rising subscription costs, as scientists chafe at paying for access to research that builds on their own work. One oft-cited example: the journal Brain Research has an institutional list price of $22,386 a year. Patient advocates insist on easy, searchable access to the results of taxpayer-funded studies.
Some among the 1,100 or more open-access journals available solve this problem by charging researchers a fee to publish their articles instead of charging for subscriptions. The Public Library of Science, parent of PLoS Biology and PloS Medicine (scheduled to launch in October), charges researchers $1,500, but waives the fee for those who can't afford it.
That system isn't better, said Gregory Curfman, executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. He argues that having researchers pay for publication creates a potential conflict of interest: Will publishers subconsciously select articles based on the author's ability to pay?"
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