Alex Holcombe › Comments

'Tis time for kiwifoo again - this time with the wonderful prescence of Alex Holcombe (@ceptional). It would be great to get an idea of what things might be useful for us to try to explore. Here are some things I have been thinking about, but I would love to hear what y'all think might be worth trying to get done.
1. With Leonie Hayes (repositories at U of AKL) and @nickdjones (Centre for eResearch U AKL and involved in eresarch infrastcture for NZ) we want to run a session called 'Is New Zealand ready for Open Science'. We are Hoping Alex will join us. Both NZ and Oz have an 'open access mandate' (NZGOAL in NZ and I think it is called AUGOAL or something in Australia) whereby govt agencies are encouraged to deposit their data under creative commons. One of the people involved in NZGOAL will be there, and I would love to see Universities (or at least research funding bodies) listed in the NZGOAL (so far only crown research institutes are) One of the topics of converstaion in the planning with Nick and Leonie was to think a bit about what 'open science' is worth fighting for given the NZ (and OZ) contexts (which may be somewhat different from US and Euriope) - Kubke
2. Daniel Mietchen's project: what are the next steps to see it forward. There will be people from enspiral (who looked at the code demands to get the 'github for science' platform - so I hope to have a serious sitdown to disccuss more specific things and next steps, funding, etc - Kubke
3. Google funding - what kind of projects related to open science would google be happy to fund? If I manage to get a googler with enough information it might be worth thinking about targeting that kitty for some projects - Kubke
That all sounds great, and I do wish I had real "prescence" which sounds like a great combination of presence and prescience :) Seriously, this will be a real education for me, I had never heard of AU/NZGOAL. My efforts lately have been more directed at open access for journals, simply because we got to ride the wave of the current anti-RWA uprising. But it'll be good to get my eye back... more... - Alex Holcombe
Link to the 'github for science' project: . - Daniel Mietchen
thanks Daniel for adding the link. Can you think of any specific questions you would like to have answered? - Kubke
re GitHub for science, have been wondering about this sort of workflow, with things like SparkleShare ( to support the humdrum of hiding the environment. - Nick Jones
i'm equally interested in the ideas around how to support such projects, not just from the infrastructure. but what would funders need to do to support open science - we have soft compulsion in the form of the "where feasible" like clauses in recent MSI funding notes. What is needed for feasibility? Just infrastructure? what else? - Nick Jones
Quick report back from #kiwifoo. Just got home with melted brain and the need to review a few documents for a meeting tomorrow. The short version:- 1. We did have a session on open science (well 2 really) and got wonderful feedback. I think that we can get good things going, and this is always good news.2. I got a good outline from Josh from enspiral regarding daniel's project, and now... more... - Kubke
Alex Holcombe
Let's say the editors of a journal (one for which the publisher allows authors to deposit postprints or preprints in institutional repositories) decided to add to their manuscript submission requirements a *requirement* to deposit the pre-print or post-print. Would publisher want to drop the journal? Could publisher drop the journal, or would that
be breach of contract? - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Our new video for Open Access. Open Access Week is one month from now. Consider pledging to direct your manuscript reviewing efforts towards openaccess at
I would like to do a German version of this one. Any chance of sharing the script/ settings? - Daniel Mietchen
Hi Daniel, just seeing your comment now- yes I was planning on posting the script somewhere, and will send it to you if I can find it now - Alex Holcombe
First go at German version, with built-in error finding contest: . - Daniel Mietchen
If anybody is interested in translating it into yet another language, let me know and you can paste in a new script - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Exp Brain Res maybe most expensive journal in neurosci, $13670 subscription. For open-access week, would ppl be willing to hyperlink "Exp Brain Research" to a webpage that features the high price, explains lower-cost alternatives, and urges editorial board to decamp? Not so much a googlebomb as a public service announcement
My blog doesn't have much googlejuice after a long hiatus, but I'll spread the link around as best I can. - Bill Hooker
It's unfortunate that such an action, which is actually nothing unusual or underhanded in this case, is associated with a term that has the word 'bomb' in it! I don't see anything truly ethically wrong with a bunch of people mentioning the high price of Exp Brain Res online and all linking to the same webpage that describes the situation in more detail. - Alex Holcombe
I'm all for it and will participate! - Björn Brembs
Count me in. - Daniel Mietchen
Any news on this one? - Daniel Mietchen
I haven't done anything- too busy with other OA stuff :) An alternative search term to use might be "most expensive neuroscience journal" or we could try making blog posts that use both terms. What do you think? I think maybe we'd several dozen ppl to make it work, so if you like it do you want to ask some others and we'll see how many we get on board? - Alex Holcombe
Times Higher Education - A footnote - Far from it, publishers are key in advancing scholarship -
"We evolve scalable, sustainable enterprises that enable intellectual freedom and the flow of culture and scholarship. Beyond a copyright framework to protect our investments, we strive for the widest distribution and access to our publishing that we can achieve." - Kubke from Bookmarklet
"Publishers are needed to maintain quality standards, build brands, enhance discovery, enable access, fund the supply chain, invest for the future, and nurture the authors who express our culture. Without us, there is the "information superhighway" to fall back on, but soon enough that would become an unmanageable "digital deluge"." - Kubke
The comment by Herbert on the article is very nicely put - Alex Holcombe
Johnstone's comments are not far off the mark either.... - Kubke
Academics should stop doing free peer-review for non-open-access journals. -
Left a comment: "I agree with you 100%. I don't think it's necessary to pledge to both refuse to referee AND stop submitting to closed-access journals. There's nothing logically inconsistent with stopping reviewing, but continuing to submit. Personally, all of our lab's submissions will be OA, unless I'm a co-author on a paper and that PI wants to shoot for a closed journal. I haven't... more... - Steve Koch
I know I didn't think of it, and here I am in 2007 making a resolution to that effect: (I don't even want to think about whether I kept all of those resolutions, but I did keep the one about not reviewing for TA publications.) - Bill Hooker
Thanks Bill, I've added you to the list of people who have pledged here: I made in hopes of getting mass pledging going but am still working on the wording of the pledge. Michael Taylor and I are hoping to join forces- Michael is arguing for a much stronger pledge, but the several people I've bounced it off of,... more... - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Any analysis of what did to the physics journal market? Are there fewer physics journals now than there would be otherwise? What distinguishes them from journals in sciences that don't use arXiv? How many journals would survive if everyone in science posted all their articles to repositories? How many libraries would subscribe, and why?
Hmmmm. Good questions. - Joe
You know about SCOAP3, right? - Meg VMeg
My point being that libraries are invested in peer review, so plenty of them appear to be willing to fund that process, even if the resulting content were OA. Granted, HEP is a tiny, tiny world with a huge preprint culture, so it's hard to say whether this is generalizable/sustainable. - Meg VMeg
The tender process for scoap has begun. - Joe
I didn't know about SCOAP3; SCOAP3 is great! Reading between the lines of the SCOAP3 report, it sounds like although almost everyone in high-energy physics has posted some version of their article on arxiv, it's often not en earlier version than the post-print. Is that right? Is that the reason libraries are still subscribing to the HEP journals? And/or is it partly out of a patronly feeling they need to sponsor the existing peer review process? - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
#openaccess #oaweek idea: Make comedy satire movie of when academic publisher asks scientist to sign away copyright. Want to collaborate on script?
hi Graham, I hadn't used it before but I started in on it and it looks very straightforward, although making a good video will be time-consuming work. I've seen a few videos with people sitting at a desk, which is the context I want, but unfortunately I don't see how to do that at the site. Maybe I should make an account from scratch and share the password so you can help me. - Alex Holcombe
thanks Graham - Alex Holcombe
Daniel Mietchen
"In case you don’t have a laptop with you, we have installed 14 internet kiosks around the terminal for you to use also FREE OF CHARGE!" -
Tallinn Airport - WiFi internet & Skype - Tallinn Airport is the first airport in the whole world, providing FREE OF CHARGE Wifi internet connection all over the passenger terminal. - Daniel Mietchen from Bookmarklet
Incheon (Seoul) also has free wifi. - Matthew Todd
they also have wifi at the airport bus stop - Alex Holcombe
Just arrived in Tallinn, and the connection is good so far. @ Matthew yes, Incheon wifi is great. - Daniel Mietchen
Alex Holcombe
Open Access Week is coming,on 24 October! I want to make some kind of pledge but hard because of complications with co-authors, CV impact factor stuff for grants, etc. Howzabout a fairly minimal pledge: we could pledge to review for closed journals only as many manuscripts as we submit to them, and spend all the rest of our reviewing and editing...
time for open access outlets - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
A journal editor wrote (in a comment at bottom of that some of the comments people have written on my blog constitute defamation against him and his journal and are therefore illegal. I believe strongly in free speech, and therefore don't want to delete the comments "just to be on the safe side". What should I do?
I don't think I am liable, but don't want to support such commenting activity if it is illegal. - Alex Holcombe
Example comment: "Glossing over greed with syrupy intentions is corrupt." The others are here: - Alex Holcombe
Added comment on the thread. I've never met GE but my impression is that he's a straight arrow -- but that doesn't mean all publishers are as honest! Regarding liability, surely that is a settled question by now -- if bloggers were liable for comments, where would that leave Wordpress, political bloggers, facebook, etc etc etc? - Bill Hooker
Thanks Bill for your helpful comment! BTW, although I don't like GE's aggro stance, and certainly mentioning libel/defamation has a somewhat chilling effect, he may not have intended to threaten or chill my speech, so I wouldn't want to accuse him of that. About the comments he say are defamatory, I certainly didn't like their tone and maybe developing a good comment policy for my blog will reduce them in future and give me cover for deleting the ones that are particularly ad hominem. - Alex Holcombe
Can anyone point me to a good blog commenting policy? (for someone like me who is a big believer in free speech) - Alex Holcombe
I also agree: if comments would make blog authors liable, the judicial systems in any country wouldn't be doing anything else :-) - Björn Brembs
Thanks guys- also if any of you disagree with GE's points, feel free to comment on my blog ( ), because GE writes as if I'm the only one with my "illogical" views that "make no sense" regarding the possibility of fast-track fees biasing the journals - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Good info about PLoS ONE in this award commendation from SPARC
". About 65-70 percent of submissions end up being published, says Binfield. " - Alex Holcombe
"‎stringent policies dealing with items such as disclosure requirements, data deposition standards, and ethical concerns. In addition, every paper has to pass a detailed technical checklist of over 40 items before even entering the peer review process" - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Should formulate and make pledge to review only for open-access journals. Alternative is for only open-access plus Green OA journals, but that's probably too easy. Anyone interested?
Not obvious to everybody :( And because I haven't made a pledge yet, I make all these exceptions. Like for cool paper in prestigious journal. Or for paper that should be citing me more :) Plus, if nobody knows we're doing it, won't spread as much. - Alex Holcombe
Sure, I'll support and sign. Did this for myself a while back -- -- and don't even have to make an exception to help out a colleague any more. I haven't been asked to do so since that post, but if I'm asked again to review for a non-OA journal I will decline and explain why. One useful thing a pledge could do is provide a standard explanation that people could copy/paste or link. - Bill Hooker
thanks Bill, and I've got to add you to my list of earlier pledgers - Alex Holcombe
Cameron Neylon
Australian Research Council moving backward on open-access, too -
Liking the entry not the topic! - Bill Hooker
I gotta write to somebody at ARC and see if I can get the official story of why they backed off somewhat on OA - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
I'm thinking of making some kind of open-access pledge, probably Green OA. Who has done so and what exactly did they pledge? I ought to try to maximize impact of pledge on my institution, others
searching the web, I found only philosophy and law OA pledges, and institutional mandates, not individuals - Alex Holcombe
Peter Binfield
PLoS ONE and the Rise of the Open Access Mega Journal - slideshare of my presentation to #SSP2011
I remain of the view that there are also very large opportunities for publishers getting into this arena to mismanage the process catastrophically...but will be very interesting to see... - Cameron Neylon
I wonder how much staff is needed to manage 22K submissions at a reasonable speed (obviously more than it is hired right now ;) ). PLoS is turning into Mega Publisher. - Pawel Szczesny
Also, in other exciting news today - we just hooked up with Mendeley to have a combined API Competition :) - Peter Binfield
Congratulations to the PLoS team but... would it not be prudent to shift the conversation from the large volume to the post-processing metrics ? I think at this point it is not worth keep pointing out that PLoS ONE is growing so much. I keep hearing from colleagues this idea of PLoS ONE as a "dumping ground" and people confusing the PLoS brand in general with PLoS ONE. Since PLoS is not... more... - Pedro Beltrao
+1 Pedro. - Bill Hooker
+2 Pedro - Alex Holcombe
Well, as you can imagine - it is on the list and we are working on these things as fast as possible! Unfortunately development takes time. In the meantime, part of the beauty of OA is that we dont have to build it all ourselves. We have our Search API and (very) soon an API for our ALM program. The combination of these 2 could be used by anyone to build the tools you are suggesting. - Peter Binfield
I would've had two questions after the talk: 1. Now that PLoS as a whole has been sustainable since 2010, when will the subsidizing of the community journals by PLoS One authors stop? I don't have cash burning holes in my university pockets and I'd rather only pay for my next PLoS One paper and not for the paper of a PLoS Biology author. If I'm paying for PLoS Biology, I'd like to publish there as well, please. - Björn Brembs
2. If the Mega-Journals become the new hype and (because?) people start to realize that container means nothing, why would people chose one journal over another (both for publishing and for reading)? Surely, the 'neuroscience' tag in PLoS One doesn't mean anything different than a 'Open Mega-Journal of Neuroscience'? - Björn Brembs
@Graham, will add that to the list of blog posts that I need to write..Bjoern two reasons presumably. Price and services offered, which would be a step forward in my view beyond current obsession with journal brand. - Cameron Neylon
lol @Cameron: that's what I'm currently writing a blog post on. From the description, services are identical (minus IF) as are prices. One more reason for PLoS to have 'realistic' pricing for PLoS One, IMHO! - Björn Brembs
I'd rephrase Bjoern's q1 as: now that PLoS has proven that OA journals can play the Glamor Mag game, PLoS Bio/Med etc have served their pupose -- so when will they be rolled into PLoS ONE? - Bill Hooker
Bill +1 - Egon Willighagen
And, closely related, when will we see a service for PLoS ONE? - Egon Willighagen
(Perhaps just a Mendeley/PLoS mashup tip!) - Egon Willighagen
+1 Bill & Egon :-) - Björn Brembs
Waiting to see some familiar names on the contest registrant list. - Mr. Gunn from Android
Alex Holcombe
I just sent our fast-track fee protest letter ( to the associated journals! But how to deal with all the responses? I think I will post them here: and suggest everyone responds there or link to your response there.
I'll need the help of people here to address their responses, hopefully to convince the journals to stop these policies, as I believe they threaten science's good reputation. - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
Keep science fair, protest fast-track fees—we have refined our protest letter to the offending journals, and I'll soon send it, please sign on!
direct link to the letter: - Alex Holcombe
signed! - Björn Brembs
Sorry... I missed that. Fast-track fee? Does part of that fee go to the referees for making them work harder? Or is this a common you-pay-me-to-get-you-published-faster? Do you pay up front? The more you pay the faster, and with starting with four digits the editor let's you know the same day how fast that track can be? - Egon Willighagen
Egon: for some journals a portion of the fee goes to reviewers, for others not, in which case it's pay-me-to-get-you-published-faster (why did you use "common" there?). At least for one journal (obesity reviews) you pay up front, not sure about the others... - Alex Holcombe
Note that typical open-access author-fee journals treat all authors the same so the reader knows what they're getting, my objection with these is that money gets preferential treatment (and possible peer-review shortcuts), and moreover the journals don't seem to indicate which were fast-track and which weren't - Alex Holcombe
@Alex... that common is misplaced... I wanted to make the parallel with other uses of financial incentives (bribe, lobbying complemented with party donations, etc)... the 'common' in the comment was a left over... sorry about that. - Egon Willighagen
Alex Holcombe
Creating a two-tier academic system of rich and poor: Now, money fast-tracks journal submissions!
_Obesity Reviews_ has a “Fast Track Facility”: A submission fee of $1,000 or £750 for articles up to 9000 words long, or $1500 for articles more than 9,000 words long guarantees peer-review within 10 working days - Alex Holcombe
I suppose this was inevitable. - Bill Hooker
Maybe it's inevitable, but we should protest somehow, in case it's not inevitable :) - Alex Holcombe
Wow. That's really shady. - kendrak
Money for fast peer review? When will there be money for no peer-review? - Björn Brembs
well, this sounds like a wake-up call to me... any suggestion as to where and how to protest? - Claudia Koltzenburg
Soon, very soon...which is exactly the wrong way to be going... - Cameron Neylon
commoditization might be a key term to search (Suber 2009), commoditization was apparently also talked about at OASPA conference in Prague August 2010 - Claudia Koltzenburg
we might ask journals with a very short submission<->acceptance period... - Claudia Koltzenburg
I think reviewers must be getting a cut so that they will evaluate the paper quickly. When money is involved, they will tend to accept some borderline cases which they would reject otherwise. They want to be "cooperative" so they will get more manuscripts (=money). Some may even make a career out of this. - mkoz
MKaan - where do I sign up? Depending on the money involved, I can make my review shorter and quicker than anyone! - Mr. Gunn
Coming soon to a journal near you, Mr. Gunn :) - mkoz
Here's another one, requesting a $200 processing charge. - mkoz
And another. Wow. I'm afraid of digging further. - mkoz
Thanks MKaan et al., looks like these 3 journals are different publishers so it is not just an isolated case. I suppose we should start by writing a letter protesting to the journals and their publishers. The fee (and the associated compromise in standards that will sometimes occur to get the action letter done by the deadline) violates an ethic of scientific fairness. Has anyone codified fair practices by journals? We need a code to shame violators, and reduce their prestige - Alex Holcombe
I've started an open protest letter on Google Doc, I would love any help to write it, also lemme know if you're likely willing to sign on: - Alex Holcombe
I've made some contributions to the letter. I'll certainly consider signing it (being cagey only because I don't know where other folks will want to go with this). - Bill Hooker
thank you, signed as the Managing editor of an OA journal that is a Western/Russian cooperation - Claudia Koltzenburg
Thanks. I've signed it, too. - mkoz
anything came from this, @Alex Holcombe? - Claudia Koltzenburg
Lars Hvild alerted me to the existence of the International Committe of Medical Journal Editors ( which sets some norms for journal behavior. Anyone have any contacts there? Otherwise I'll simply cold-email them, although that hasn't worked yet for a few other places I tried. Of course we should also send our letter in to those journals at some point. Any other ideas? You might also be interested in one journal editor's defense in the comments on my blog: - Alex Holcombe
@Alex re ICMJE, if you like I am a representative of a medical journal so, yes, we 'belong', so you and me (CTT) could team up if you think that might be helpful in this regard, good idea @Lars Hvild - Claudia Koltzenburg
@Claudia that's great! BTW we only have 6 signatories at the moment so anyone reading, please consider signing on: @Claudia I haven't found your email, mine is I'll draft an email to ICMJE for us - Alex Holcombe
info at - Claudia Koltzenburg
I wonder if some of that money is going to pay peer reviewers to comment within a certain number of days? - Joe
Alex, I doubt many people are going to read this far down the comments on this thread. I'd try posting a new item to your feed and the Science 2.0 room just saying "we think the letter is ready to go, please consider signing". I think that's a reasonable thing to do, and not spammy. - Bill Hooker
Alex Holcombe
China to beat US scientific output quantity in 2013?
"It will take many years for some of the research to catch up to Western standards." - Alex Holcombe
We are losing our top spot and when the brain drain kicks in, it may be irreversible. Already some fields like stem cells are struggling. However, sneering at "low quality" mass produced Chinese publications doesn't suggest any useful solutions. - Mr. Gunn from Android
How many hours do they suggest again 10000... that's how long it takes them to catch up. - Egon Willighagen
Matthew Todd
Any way to customize citation styles in Mendeley? Journal abbreviations seem not to be working for PLoS style, and web links not needed etc.
Just talked to our desktop team and journal abbreviations are not currently supported, but are likely to be worked on in the next sprint. Sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime. - Steve Dennis
on a separate point, when I copy a reference from the (OSX) Mendeley client, some nonsense characters get included. So I usually click on "view research catalog entry for this paper" to see it on the web, where I can grab a clean version - Alex Holcombe
Endnote has a feature (I'm sure you get sick of hearing that) where you can customize the style. It also uses standard ISI journal abbreviations. When I'm putting together papers containing maybe 100 references, this is really useful... - Matthew Todd
Endnote doesn't use the open CSL citation format, rather their own proprietary format. When we're done with the citation style editor, you'll be able to use it on styles that you can contribute back to the community so that everyone can benefit. I think it's worth the wait. - Mr. Gunn from Android
Agreed. I know M's free, and works very well, and I support it. But how loooong's it going to be? - Matthew Todd
Alex Holcombe
Experimental Brain Research too expensive at $11751/yr (as is being discussed at CVnet vision list), what publisher should editorial board decamp to make a new low-cost title? Science2.0 and open-access people, please advise! Not everyone will go for open-access, so should also have a more conventional (but low cost) subscription option (via...
Thanks- I'm thinking of an online-only journal that can help get the abstracts indexed in relevant databases like ISI and PubMed. I think PDFs are fine, no other print functionality is needed. The publisher should also provide a journal management system for the submission / reviewer recruitment /action editor management / action letter generation etc. workflow. - Alex Holcombe
If the whole ed board decide to decamp and the publishers allows it you may be able to take the identity of the journal with you which makes the indexing bit somewhat easier. As for places. It's tough, commercial providers will still charge money for hosting (or at least charge subscriptions). I don't know who offers the best deals. Low cost is still low cost...means you won't be getting some things - Cameron Neylon
Thanks guys! especially for the biomedcentral link. For a non-author-pays option (subscription model), Still wondering what might be an inexpensive and generally fair-dealing publisher.. - Alex Holcombe
Cameron Neylon
What is it with researchers and peer review? or; Why misquoting Churchill does not an argument make -
I’ve been meaning for a while to write something about peer review, pre and post publication, and the somewhat bizarre attachment of research community to the traditional approaches. A news article in Nature tho, in which I am quoted seems to have really struck a nerve for many people. The context in which the quote is presented doesn’t really capture what I meant but I stand by the statement in isolation. I think there are two important things to tease out here, firstly a critical analysis of the problems and merits of peer review, and secondly a close look at how it could be improved, modified, or replaced. I think these merit separate posts so I’ll start here with the problems in our traditional approach. - Cameron Neylon
looking forward to part II - Mickey Schafer
Yet again, "like" button insufficient. - Bill Hooker
We'll see what the response is. People got really upset about that quote, although I don't really understand why. - Cameron Neylon
"It makes much more sense in fact to publish everything and filter after the fact" - yes. More difficult with grant applications, though, and that's where I think the discussion should go. - Daniel Mietchen
yes, great post! - Alex Holcombe
The Churchill quote, by the way, is on record in the House of Commons: . - Daniel Mietchen
Now, the more important question, IMHO, is whether anybody has checked for negative filtering, i.e., would the incidence of flawed papers increase in a hypothetical absence of peer review? Has anybody looked at that? We already know that flawed papers get through in principle, but what are the numbers compared to no peer-review? And how would bogus submissions increase knowing there is... more... - Björn Brembs
The survey evidence shows that authors strongly view that peer review improves their papers. Unfortunately the (very few) studies that attempt to look at this objectively don't show any evidence in favour of this. It is however a very difficult thing to test. A point recently made to me that is worth throwing in the pot is that the biggest improvement probably comes from... more... - Cameron Neylon
Broadly around 70-80% of all papers submitted eventually get published in some form so the filtering thing is a little hard to justify anyway. But its not clear how much publication volumes might increase if there was no barrier to entry at that sense APCs might help as well. - Cameron Neylon
I think that part of the perception of why peer review works has to do with our own statistics: If I think of the number of papers I review/accept/reject, I perceive the filter as 'working', and would therefore argue in favour of it. I think the problem is that when "I" do it wrongly, there aren't many ways of that being brought up to my attention. I would say that in a very small... more... - Kubke
@Cameron I am not sure the 70-80% finally gets published is a fair assessment. In my case, in instances where a paper was rejected the version that was eventually published was not the original submission. Rejection comes with comments and those can be addressed before resubmitting to another journal. - Kubke
Agreed, but again this is anecdotal. There is a small number of "objective" studies IIRC that don't show any actual improvement, just changes. The other question to ask is whether any improvement that could be shown is worth the cost and effort the resubmission cycle requires. I don't know of any good estimates of the costs of the cycle though - Cameron Neylon
agreed, equally anecdotal. there is also the issue that some authors exploit the peer review process to fix their papers (also anecdotal) or submit around bean counter deadlines (more anecdotal) - so yes, can't clean the clutter without actual data - Kubke from BuddyFeed
The _pre-submission review_ process is a good one -- in workshops and classes, I call the idea "field testing" the paper -- and encourage that each person intending to publish gather a small group of trusted reviewers, at least one of whom is in a non-directly-related field (these are the people particularly good at point out gaps in logic). Our stats department offers their services... more... - Mickey Schafer
Excellent post! - Mickey Kosloff
Cameron, wonderful post and some good arguments in there. Richard Smith has said similar things for years. But where do we go from here? One suggestion: adopt the arXiv system used in physics and mathematics, making everything immediately available as preprint. These fields still have peer reviewed papers, but peer review plays a very different (and much smaller) role. - Martin Fenner
Pedro Beltrao
Why would you publish in Scientific Reports ? -
Why would you publish in Scientific Reports ?
maybe they hope to be more attractive than PLoS ONE thanks to the various web2.0 type stuff they are working on, although that would have to be very significant to outweigh the generally non-open-access nature of Nature... In any case, yes it is a victory for the ONE model. Nature would have low marginal overhead on this, so they probably reckon they might as well try to get their piece? - Alex Holcombe
I hope they try to compete with PLoS on the article level data and maybe on things like recommendation engines. Right now as you say it looks like a simple attempt to grab a piece of the pie. - Pedro Beltrao
I feel a blog post brewing: Nature staying afloat with bulk publishing? :-) - Björn Brembs
The exciting thing about the growing number of players trying out a ONE journal is that, as Alex and Pedro allude to, they're going to have to start competing based on the discriminatory power of their post-publication filtering systems (since pre-pub filtering, the traditional place to add value, will be low for everyone). This could drive innovation in things like #altmetrics very quckly. - Jason Priem
I'll get down to writing something in a minute. This is big. Very big. If I were the ACS I'd be shitting myself this morning. But if we lose the battle over non-commercial licences here we might lose it for good and that will be a downstream disaster. - Cameron Neylon
Very interesting indeed. Going to talk with some guys at Nature next week, so can ask them! - Matthew Todd
They should have called it Nature Scientific Reports... the Nature brand would have given the journal an edge... - Egon Willighagen
But it would have diluted the Nature brand, they're trying to have it a bit both ways here, which I think is a potentially serious risk in both directions, they may end up without the cachet of the brand, but also diluting the Nature brand, which is the major asset of NPG. Or they may play a very canny middle game and win in both directions. - Cameron Neylon
If the content is freely accessible it will be a great resource. If there is a CC license preferably with few restrictions it would be even better. - Mike Chelen
Alex Holcombe
‎"The peer-review system is the most ludicrous system ever devised. It is useless and does not make sense in dealing with science funding when history abounds with a plethora of examples that indicate that the most important breakthroughs are impossible to foresee." Nobellist Harry Kroto... ""The science budget should be split into three (not necessarily equal) parts and downloaded to departments. The local institutions, and not government departments, should disburse funding as they are close to the coalface and can decide what needs support and what is in the long-term interest of the department. There should be no research proposals on which to waste time. One part should go to young people chosen by their universities as the researchers on which their institution's future will depend — they have done the work, why waste time doing it again when people have no time and are too far away from the coalface and in general do not have the relevant expertise? The second part should go to a group whose most recent report was excellent. This is the racehorse solution — if a scientist has just done some great work, let her or him run again." - Alex Holcombe
Alex Holcombe
finally, the Australian Research Council supports open access
If you have ideas of how this should be made stronger for future years, maybe we can sign a letter to the ARC together. It would be good to move towards a stronger mandate - Alex Holcombe
why the limit of 2% of funding to be used for OA? avg ARC DP grant is something like $100,000 a year (actually less I think), and $2000 would only pay for one PLoS ONE paper at $1350/paper or if you prefer the today-announced Nature Publishing Group PLoS ONE imitation journal, Scientific Reports it would cost you... $1350/paper! So you could only do about one, although other OA journals... more... - Alex Holcombe
I was thinking it was reasonable guideline figure but I'd forgotten that ARC grants aren't really paying the full costs so that could be a problem. The other option is to get ARC to pay overheads properly of course. - Cameron Neylon
It's about what Wellcome budget for, for instance in their costing for OA charges in general. - Cameron Neylon
Don't understand the need for a limit. Just budget it in the grant proposal. Done. Was anyone here asked to consult on this? - Matthew Todd
The explanation I heard - about ten years ago - is that the old ban on payment had nothing to do with OA, and was rather due to the ARC simply not wanting to pay author fees, on top of what libraries were already paying for subscriptions. (Different organizations of course, but most of it ultimately comes from the same source: taxpayers.) Admittedly, this was hearsay, but it was from a pretty reliable source. - Michael Nielsen
Michael Nielsen
Appears to be a complete draft text of Judea Pearl's book on causality. I've had the final chapter especially recommended to me. - Michael Nielsen
what a joy of discovery it was when I read the final chapter, some years ago- I felt I had been missing out on an intellectual revolution that had happened under my nose - Alex Holcombe
Steve Koch
PLoS ONE AE rejected our paper w/o invitation to resubmit. Said that the following review is "irreparable defect": Reviewer #2: The authors describe a pedestrian simulation of a kinetic system for kinesin with an enormous number of states (80). I see no new insight from the analysis, nor do I anticipate any new insight from the extension to...
Reviewer #2: The authors describe a pedestrian simulation of a kinetic system for kinesin with an enormous number of states (80). I see no new insight from the analysis, nor do I anticipate any new insight from the extension to include applied force. Bluntly put, I learned nothing from reading this paper and consequently I do not recommend publication. - Steve Koch
That seems to me to be all related to impact. AE suggested we rework the paper and submit to a more specialized journal. I'm thinking this AE does not understand PLoS ONE at all. - Steve Koch
Reviewer #1 does in fact have good criticisms, which I think we can address. But AE told us not to resubmit. Should I contact PLoS ONE staff with concerns? - Steve Koch
In cases such as this, all authors have recourse to our appeal process, where the decision can be reevaluated. I suggest you email our inbox with that request. - Peter Binfield
It's interesting. As a PLoS One AE I have no problem is assessing a paper as being so badly written, or the experiments so badly executed, or the data so poorly presented, as to warrant a rejection on technical grounds (i.e. a rejection based on the presentation of the data, not the data themselves). In some cases it may be possible, with guidance, for the paper to be re-shaped into... more... - Matthew Todd
My $0.02: definitely appeal. Since the external reviewers seem to disagree with one another, I'd like to know why the AE went with one reviewer over the other. I also think this is a good test case for something that is still being hashed out in the forums, as far as I can tell -- namely, how much novelty is needed for a PloS ONE paper? The guidelines (see don't really cover the nitty-gritty of this question. - Bill Hooker
And my 2c (not repeating what was said above and with the big caveat that it's based only on the reviewer's comment and not on your paper) - perhaps have a 2nd look at your introduction and see whether it covers previous work well enough so a reviewer/reader not familiar with the details immediately grasps what new data+insights your paper advances. Sometimes the problem is not the results as much as the background... - Mickey Kosloff
And my 1c: If you were to scratch out all of the reviewer's comments that are not aligned with PLoS ONE policy, do the reviewers provide any good reasoning to justify the AE's decision? If you disagree, I would think you should appeal. - Kubke
Thank you all for the advice! I am definitely going to appeal. I felt comfortable posting the second reviewer's comments, since they were so generic and terse. Reviewer #1 is much more thoughtful and says that we produce something useful, if nothing else our open-source software. Reviewer #1 has some serious concerns too, which I think we can address. - Steve Koch
And if you want to see the paper in question, this is it: We don't make claims that we're revolutionizing anything, but we do feel it can be useful. - Steve Koch
Aren't you an AE as well? You should bring it to the AE's groupsite—nothing personal here. It needs to be discussed. Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you should receive a special treatment for being AE, but this example of the use of subjective criteria needs to be brought to the AE forum for the benefit of all AEs and other authors who don't have the same opportunity. - Ramy Karam Aziz
Having said that, sometimes the AE has to side with one reviewer over another because the AE reads the confidential comments and (sometimes) gives more weight to a reviewer who has not been suggested by the author(s) or who has more authority in the field. Also, software papers are tricky since PLoS ONE doesn't have a "software section." Almost every software paper I have seen had to go through lot of deliberations before being accepted/rejected. - Ramy Karam Aziz
It's very simple: if the AE thinks you should submit it elsewhere, it's good enough for PLoS One. The AE contradicted him/herself: rejection in PLoS One means no resubmission anywhere, especially not a "more specialized journal", that's GlamMag talk! - Björn Brembs
+1 Bjorn - Alex Holcombe
+2 Bjoern! - Bill Hooker
+3 Bjoern!! - Kubke
Nice hat! - Chris M
Ricardo Vidal
This if else business in R is lame... #RStat
Maybe Ricardo's talking about if else (two words), which I also hate because of the need to put else on same line as the close-bracket. I didn't know about ifelse, so thanks! - Alex Holcombe
Cameron Neylon
Binary decisions are a real problem in a grey-scale world -
I recently made the most difficult decision I’ve had to take thus far as a journal editor. That decision was ultimately to accept the paper; that probably doesn’t sound like a difficult decision until I explain that I made this decision despite a referee saying I should reject the paper with no opportunity for resubmission not once, but twice. One of the real problems I have with traditional pre-publication peer review is the way it takes a very nuanced problem around a work which has many different parts and demands that you take a hard yes/no decision. - Cameron Neylon
Somewhere in the guidelines for reviewers, PLoS ONE states that reviews may be made public. I still don't understand why their reviews are rarely if ever published, but in the case you describe, it would probably help the reader quite a bit if the reviews were available. - Daniel Mietchen
Often the referees tick the box that says they don't want them made public and when they tried doing it by default people got quite upset in a number of cases so this is still a difficult area for people. I agree though, it would help in this case. - Cameron Neylon from twhirl
We forgot to do it for our recent submission to plos one...but for our upcoming one, we're going to request open peer review - Steve Koch from Android
Cameron, are you familiar with the 'identify the champion' system?: - Michael R. Bernstein
I have the same problem as you, and take the same view. The issue frequently comes up when I'm editing for PLoS ONE. I'll be sending reviewers and others confused about PLoS ONE to your post. - Alex Holcombe
Other ways to read this feed:Feed readerFacebook