Peer Review

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if science drops in a field but no other researchersare around to hear it, does it further the academic area of study? howdy researchers, trace here for dnews. science is a process, it’s a way of thinkingabout the world around us. most of these scientific processes are thoughtthrough and then published in a journal, but to read them you have to pay! shouldn’t all this scientific knowledgebe free!? firstly, science is mostly paid for by grantsfrom governments, non-profits, foundations, universities, corporations or others withdeep pockets.

we did a video about it. but, even though the science was paid for,that’s just the first half of the equation… the other half is the scientific journal. the first journals were published over 350years ago as a way to organize new scientific knowledge, and that continues today. according to the international associationof scientific, technical and medical publishers, 2.5 million new scientific papers are publishedeach year in over 28,000 different journals. a new paper is published every 20 seconds. (and you thought we’d run out of stuff fordnews ðÿ˜‰).

researchers need others to read their paperso it can affect their field. so, they freely send their treasured manuscriptsto journals for peer review and publication. when a manuscript comes in, specialists selectand send the best manuscripts to volunteer experts in the field who are “carefullyselected based on… expertise, research area, and lack of bias” for peer review. after that, the papers are copy-edited, compiledinto an issue of the journal, physically printed and then shipped and/or published online! they’re, like, the nerdiest magazines inthe world. all this costs money…

according to a study in plos one this wholeprocess can cost 20 to 40 dollars per page, depending on how many papers the journal receivesand how many they have to reject. someone has to pay for that, and there arethree ways this can happen: authors can submit for free and readers/subscribers pay (calledthe traditional model), or authors pay and readers get it for free (called open-access),or both authors and readers pay!english-language journals alone were worth $10 billion dollarsin 2013! i know what you’re thinking, just put themon the internet! save on shipping, like newspapers and magazines! well, even though publishers don’t haveto print and ship big books of papers anymore,

they often still do. and, even if the journals were only online,servers and bandwidth need to be paid for, and that ain’t cheap. publishing requires dollah bills, y’alland someone has to pay, and everyone gets their money differently… for example: the american association forthe advancement of science (aaas) publishes the science journals, and the public libraryof science publishes plos one among others; both are nonprofits. but, while plos uses an open-access (freeto you) model, triple-a-s publishes six journals:

five with a traditional model (you pay) andone open-access. plus, there are for-profit journals like macmillanpublishers, who own the journal nature (and a mix of traditional and open access options). and the giant reed elsevier (now called relx)publishes over 2000 journals some of which are open-access and some are traditional! so, though some are non-profits, they don’talways give it to you for free, and those that do still can charge researchers up to2900 dollars to publish! while others make money off scientific researchwhich makes some people feel icky. the whole thing is confusing.

asking “what is worse: for-profits charginguniversities or readers for access, or open-access charging authors?” shrug. the debate rages. many scientists argue as the peer review isprovided for free by the scientific community, and the papers are provided for free by thescientific community; access to the papers should. be. free.

the eu agrees, ordering any publically-fundedpapers to be made free by 2020; pushing toward open access to science! in the us, where many of the papers originate,some scientists are calling for boycotts on for-profit publishing. in the end, there was a time when practitionersneeded a physical reference to the latest scientific achievements. in the days before the internet, getting ajournal in the mail must have been both exciting and illuminating, but now, thanks to digitalpublishing… this whole pay-for-science model is wont to change…

people want the knowledge to be free, butno one knows how to do it. as y’all know, more research is always needed,but should that research be behind a paywall? let us know down in the comments, make sureyou subscribe so you get more dnews everyday. you can also come find us on twitter, @seeker. but for more how much science actually costs,watch this video.

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