The Science 1%ers Pumping Open Access Are Dangerously Out of Touch

case in point, michael b eisen, who we know as @mbeisen. He's HHMI, UCB prof, of a certain age and publishing stature....basically your science 1%er.

He has no fucking clue about normal people.

still think people mostly use it as excuse; page charges for most nonOA society Js are higher

What is under discussion is the publication fee of some $1,350 required at PLoS ONE.

This came about because I have been idly speculating of late about the Impact Factor of PLoS ONE..it's about 4.4. This compares favorably with many run of the mill journals (tied to a society or otherwise) that publish huge amounts of general neuroscience stuff. Take initial modifier [American, European, Canuckian, International....etc], add "Journal of", insert [Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Drug, Alcohol, Neurophysiology, Behavior, Cognition....blahdeblah] and you'll get the corpus. Some variants such as "Neuroscience" or "Psychopharmacology" or "Neuropharmacology" or .... You get the point. Published by the usual suspects: Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Elsevier.

Most of these come in with IFs under 4.4...or at least as close as make no practical difference.

They also publish a LOT of the papers in the fields that I follow and participate in.

I happen to think this is where the real science exists. If you've ever cited a paper in one of these journals.....yeah.

I also protest, when people are talking about the level of peer review at the Glamour Mags and attempting to sidestep the outsized retraction rate at those journals (hi PP!), that oftentimes the review is harshest at these journals. The reviews are by more directly focused experts and the scope of the paper is lesser. So the review comments can be brutal.

They can also, at times, be pretty demanding. I, myself, have in recent memory been asked for essentially an Aims worth of data be added to an already not-insubstantial manuscript at one of these sub-PONE-IF journals. AYFK? If I added that, I'd be submitting UPWARD you dumbasses!!!

As you know, PLoS ONE promises to accept manuscripts that are SOUND. Not on the basis of all the extra stuff some reviewer "would like to see". Not satisfying the nutty subjective "disappointment" of the reviewer that you didn't do the study he would (in theory) have conducted. Most emphatically not on the prediction of "impact" and "influence". Supposedly, not on the basis of even having a positive finding!

So with a higher IF and this promise....I'm all of a sudden having a hard time figuring out why people aren't just putting all their stuff in PLoS ONE? What is keeping them back?

It appears to me from doing some harder thinking about what is IN this journal that subfields are either in or out. There are some cultural forces going on here which I touched on previously. People want to make assumptions that they are going to get "their" editors and "their" reviewers....not just whatever random fringe OpenAccess Wackaloon who signed on to the PLoS ONE train sort-of/kinda overlaps with their work.

The other huge problem is the cost. $1,350 to be exact. There's a waiver....but it isn't really clear how likely one is to GET that fee waived. They don't make any promises before you submit the paper. And that's where it counts! Why go through the hassle of review just to find out several weeks later that you have to pull it for the $$? Might as well not even try.

Part of the problem here is the 1%ers like mbeisen and @namnezia think "society journal" means: PNAS is $70/page, JNsci is about $950 total.

yeah, SOME journals that technically qualify as "society" journals have page charges or publication fees. But the ones I'm talking about, for the most part, do not. Not. ONE. dime. Not a $75 "submission fee". Not a page charge.

They are FREE from start to finish.

JNeuro and PNAS are not normal, run of the mill society journals. This is not what we are discussing. It strikes me that this frame of reference is why mbeisen can't grasp the problem I'm trying to explore. It makes me fear that PLoS ONE is falling short of what it could be because it was founded by Science 1%ers who are clueless and out of touch.

It's like I'm blogging in the wind here.

58 responses so far

  • I really, really, don't get this objection (and I say so as both a PLoS ONE editor and author). When writing a grant proposal, just budget for publication fees. It's not really any different than budgeting for travel -- in both cases it's a pretty trivial percentage of the total, and you can even hype it up in your outreach section as part of reaching out to the public.

  • Namnezia says:

    Me a 1%-er?! Ahahahahaha! Hahahaha! Ha3!!1!
    Dude... I fucking wish.

    Otherwise I agree with you.

  • bill says:

    @Jonathan -- that's good advice, but

    (a) how does it play with the grant reviewers -- have you ever tried it? What was the feedback? and

    (b) the whole idea of open access is still, believe it or not, relatively new to most working scientists -- it's going to take time for their mental models to turn around so that they budget explicitly for an expense they've never really thought about before.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I might have started writing that grant 5 years ago, easy. PLoS ONE was distinctly not on my radar. My expectation was "free" for most pubs.

    even so, when a grant funds with a 10% cut....or the price of something goes up....or you have to cover a promotion raise....or another grant fails to come in and you are getting squeezed....

    I don't care what you've budgeted for, money is always an issue. Let's say four papers a year....I can do a lot with that $$ in the lab.

  • @Bill
    I've never gotten (or heard of others getting) negative feedback for budgeting for publication charges. It's pretty much been standard procedure for all proposals going out from my institute for the last five years or so. I think that most reviewers understand, that like travel, publication costs are a necessary cost of doing science.

  • drugmonkey says:

    how does it play with the grant reviewers

    btw, for any NIH grants that are modular ($250K and below in direct costs) reviewers are never going to see this degree of detail.

  • @drugmonkey
    Obviously fields are different, but are you really talking about four papers a year from a single project? Or from all your projects combined? At least in my field (mibrobial genomics/metagenomics) a typical funded project generates maybe 2 papers over its entire 2-3 year existence.

  • Yeah, my proposal experience is mostly with the NSF, where everything budgeted has to be justified, right down to the cost of primers.

  • First, we clearly have a different idea about what constitutes a society journal. For me, a society journal is one that is, you know, run by a scientific society. Virtually all the ones you talk about are society journals in name only, having long ago traded direct involvement in running the journal for an annual check from Springer/Wiley/Elsevier/Blackwell. Yes, most (although by no means all) of these journals have no or low page/figure charges. But they bleed universities dry on the back end - as it is these journals that form the bulk of the "big deals" publishers that are at the heart of the serials crisis. One of the main things we have tried to accomplish at PLoS is to get rid of all the insane economic incentives that allow these journals to thrive at the expense of the good of science and society.

    But that said, I completely understand that not every researcher has the flexibility in their budget to pay to publish in OA journals and that, for some, these charges would be a real barrier to publish in PLoS ONE or other PLoS journals. That is why, from the very beginning, we insisted that all PLoS journals waive publication fees for anyone who asks. Could we do a better job of explaining and advertising this? Yes. Are there people out there who don't publish in PLoS ONE because they don't know about the fee waivers? Probably. But you are totally out of line in suggesting that either I personally or PLoS are somehow ignoring the plight of people who don't have big research grants to pay publication fees.

    I will do whatever I can to better advertise the fee waivers. I would love it if such a simple change would - as you seem to suggest - lead to a massive uptick in our volume. But I don't think it will, because I don't think cost is the major reason why people still send their articles to the "society" journals you are discussing. I think it's more a combination of familiarity, loyalty and conservatism - the sense that they don't quite get what a PLoS ONE citation means, despite its higher IF.

    Honestly, I think it largely has to do with the incomplete (and still rather poor) job PLoS ONE has done in organizing its content and providing ways to help guide people to the articles they should be reading, and to provide authors with a way to assess (and use) the impact that their work has on the community. Once we do this successfully - an we will - then I think people will abandon all the low-tier journals you cite in droves.

    I should add that I also expect the price for PLoS ONE to go down as we make better use of technology. My goal is for the price to be as close to zero as we can make it while keeping the train on the tracks.

  • Not so familiar with the US funding system but aren't publishing costs (page charges, colour figures, where applicable) allowable expenses? If so, would APC's for OA journals not also be chargeable?

    In the UK the Wellcome Trust (richer than HHMI and, until recently, not as exclusive) provides fund to university libraries to cover costs of OA charges for Trust funded research. Makes life very easy. We are hoping that govt research councils are shortly to move to the same system. My own institution has just set up a fund to pay for non-Wellcome Trust funded research to be open access. In future this should be kept topped up from grant overheads.

    Ultimately, monies for library subscriptions could also be transferred to such funds.

  • Pascale says:

    I'm actually planning my next pub for PLoS ONE, having determined that I now work at a member institution. Publication page charges in the society journals I usually go to run about half to two-thirds of the cost of PLoS ONE. Lately, every review I get asks me to resubmit including the results of the next 5 years of proposed work in the follow-up grant. I have stuff I just want published, and as a full prof the journal doesn't matter.

  • Bashir says:

    I have a manuscript draft that I've been thinking about sending to PLoS (or another OA journal). I looked up the fee information and got the impression, maybe I am incorrect, I'd have to somehow prove I don't have the funds. My department and lab are well funded so I just assumed that would be a non-starter, regardless of whether or not I actually had access to those funds for this purpose.

    (I don't quite get the point of the "society" journal distinction. Why would I care of J of NeuroCogniveEuroStuff is actually connected to a society or not? IF is IF.)

  • I think people will abandon all the low-tier journals you cite in droves.

    I agree with this 100%, and although it is antithetical to the PLoS ONE ethos, the journal should be TRUMPETING its impact factor as being higher than almost every single one of those low-tier journals. As I commented on your blogge earlier today, moving the needle on OA and PLoS ONE is much more about perceived prestige than about costs or anything else:

    In my opinion, the *only* thing that is going to move the needle on the choices of individual scientists where to submit their papers for publication is a change in the perceived weight given to the “prestige” of journals in the assessment of scientists for purposes of hiring, promotion, tenure, grant review, prizes, selection for HHMI investigatorships, etc.

    It is easy enough for those of us who already are comfortable with what we have vis-a-vis those resources to say, “Fucke Nature, Science, and Cell” on our own behalf. It is very difficult for those who are still struggling to achieve those things to say the same thing (as it is for those of us who are making publishing venue decisions on their behalf).

  • Have to admit I am having trouble understanding your main point about OA. I do not understand how PLoS 1 can be failing to fulfill its potential because you think one of its founders is out of touch. What comes through more clearly is the invective against @mbeisen.

  • I agree with Comrade PhysioProffe completely.

    While I understand that cost/funding is a general issue for many people, it is a red herring when it comes to OA. The big issue is changing the way we assess individual scientists for jobs, grants, tenure, etc... If we change things so that journal title is not the primary way we encode our assessment of a work's value, then people won't care what journal they publish in. If we don't change the system, we could pay people to publish in PLoS ONE, and we still wouldn't achieve universal OA.

  • Drugmonkey says:

    I should have mentioned that a comment from PP in another venue was a significant trigger for my musing on this topic.

    ME- I think the difficulty I had on the Twitts in getting you to so much as grasp my point about free journals was sufficient evidence about your mindset. It may have been incomplete but there's plenty of justification. I still think you are generally on the side of angels on OA you know. I'm trying to muddle through my astonishment that people in my area seems to be reluctant adopters.

    PP has the right of it. You need disavowable SuperPACs out there trumpeting te PloSONE Impact Factor...

  • My disagreement with you was not because I lack of empathy for people with small research budgets. I simply think you're wrong that price is why people continue to publish in low-imact, closed-access journals instead of PLoS ONE.

  • doctorzen says:

    Stephen Curry: "(A)ren't publishing costs allowable expenses?"

    They can be. But:

    1. People may have existing grants where they didn't budget for this, for whatever reason.

    2. It's hard to predict how many papers will come out of a project. You sometimes have the nice problem of a spectacular data windfall and suddenly you have more papers to publish than you budgeted for.

    3. Not everyone has a grant, or a grant where this is an allowable expense.

    And so on.

    Michael Eisen: "[Cost] is a red herring when it comes to open access."

    Personally, I don't see this as a discussion just about open access. I'm interested in how different people answer a question that every working scientists asks: "Where do I submit this?"

    Understanding how people answer that question can help to grow open access (something we both want).

    And if "What will this cost me?" is as big a factor for other researchers as I think it is (waivers notwithstanding), then calling it a red herring is going to slow the potential growth of open access.

    "If we change things so that journal title is not the primary way we encode our assessment of a work's value, then people won't care what journal they publish in."

    That goal is a long way away, though. And in the meantime, people still have decisions to make about where to send things.

    I'm uneasy with the argument that we won't need disciplinary journals at all any more, though I can't articulate why just yet. I'm not convinced the way forward is for everyone to submit absolutely everything to PLoS ONE (say).

  • The other thing is that our friends and colleagues are chief editors and reviewing editors for those sub-4 IF dump journals.

  • drugmonkey says:

    our friends and colleagues are chief editors and reviewing editors
    indeed.

    those sub-4 IF dump journals.

    Nice try. "dump journal" is as dump journal does. for some people the "sub-4" is perfectly fine and it is only the bottom of the range, or specific journals, that are considered "dump".

    Interestingly, per both your points, Floyd Bloom was (simultaneously? contiguously? sequentially?) the Editor in Chief of both Brain Research and Science at one point.

    I'm interested in how different people answer a question that every working scientists asks: "Where do I submit this?"

    Always different because the goals are so different. Between authors, within authors...across time, across projects....across aspects of the same project. Sometimes goals change depending on grant and tenure review deadlines. Sometimes because of haunting fear of being scooped on something.

    I think something that should drive everyone is to try to shore up the holes. If you are too light in X, try to work on that. Too light in Y, concentrate there.

    Major factors I see are pub rate (shooting for steady), authorship position (first and senior), IF (higher = better) and service to the project (means "each stop" as a trainee, might be grant-related as a PI). Some fields might look for balance of broad-sweep theoretical shit versus "just empirical".

  • Tara says:

    It's really not fair to attack Eisen as a 1%er. I am an assistant prof and certainly not a 1%er and non-OA papers in my corner of neuroscience do cost very similar to Plos One. More and more are charging submission fees (and resubmission fees for revisions).

    I am an academic editor at Plos One. The review/editorial process is completely blind to how much/whether the author has paid. If you really can't afford $1350 or even a portion of it, then write to Plos One. I'd be extremely surprised if a paper that is sound and suitable with a PI who simply does not have the funding would be rejected just for $ reasons.

    In my field people do publish in Plos One. It's my university who has trouble with it (usually the objections mention the fee, but I have to pay the same to non-OA journals!)

  • Pinko Punko says:

    Obviously there are some very small fields where the TOP journals in the field are IF of 2-3, but they are not biomedical which many people here are concerned with. They are certainly not dump journals.

  • whimple says:

    Paying the publication charges is like paying the tip in a restaurant. If you can't afford the tip, don't go out to eat.

  • Miles says:

    As an author and reviewer I have come to like PLOSone. In my view as a grant reviewer PLOSone counts almost as high as PNAS (both journal also publish BS but the papers are in general sound). I don't care too much about IF but rather ask what impact a journal has on my work.
    As an author I'm pleased with the PLOSone review process. Efficient and no BSing. My society journals (oncology) are all run my morons who cover their asses/field of research and block everything that goes against mainstream/their own research. On top, they charge for submission and the editorial stuff takes a 6 week nap on my dollar bills before the paper even goes out to the reviewers.

    For me PLOSone, PNAS, and Stem Cells are the desirable journals to submit to. Decent fees, very few society jerks.

  • Drugmonkey says:

    Miles- my experience as a reviewer for PLoS ONE hasn't been great either. I felt the decision made by the AE did not live up to the promise of not caring about "impact". No doubt the degree to which a given AE adheres to the ideals is variable. This can affect the perception as well. If I were to find this on a consistent basis as a submitting author, well the value of PLoS ONE would be diminished. It isn't just the IF, the potential for decreased hassle is key. I'll endorse what Pascale said about reviewers demanding half of the next R01 be put into a "revision".

  • doctorzen says:

    Scicurious this morning on Twitter: "Submitted manuscript. Boss was going to submit to an #OA journal, but saw it cost $$ upfront. Le sigh." https://twitter.com/scicurious/status/206017965366321152

    In general, it pays to take people at their word.

    When people say, "I don't publish in open access because of the cost," replying "People are just making excuses," is dismissive and likely to annoy. And yeah, that argument sounds like one made from a position of privilege.

  • miko says:

    "No doubt the degree to which a given AE adheres to the ideals is variable."

    No shit... there are constant arguments on the AE discussion board about adhering to the stated criteria. There is a substantial minority who simply don't know or care about those criteria and treat it like any other review. Some are chickenshit to overrule reviewers (who don't know or care about the criteria), some are just... I don't know. I have no explanation for it. The world is full of lazy douche bags.

    @Pascale "I have stuff I just want published, and as a full prof the journal doesn't matter."

    Your postdocs must love you.

    And on semantics, society journals, I'm pretty sure, are journals published by societies. Not journals outsourced to the mega-publishers that are named after a society.

    Finally, sure that journal money might be better spent on pipette tips or replacing those antibodies an undergrad threw away, but if you break it down to percent cost of the research, including materials, personnel, etc, etc, it can't be that significant.

  • No shit... there are constant arguments on the AE discussion board about adhering to the stated criteria. There is a substantial minority who simply don't know or care about those criteria and treat it like any other review. Some are chickenshit to overrule reviewers (who don't know or care about the criteria), some are just... I don't know. I have no explanation for it. The world is full of lazy douche bags.

    Yes, this is exactly my experience as a PLoS ONE AE. The editorial managers of PLoS ONE have begun reaching out to some the non-delusional non-lazy-douche AEs to try to figure out how to make the PLoS ONE peer review process hew more closely to the stated PLoS ONE editorial criteria.

  • drugmonkey says:

    society journals, I'm pretty sure, are journals published by societies. Not journals outsourced to the mega-publishers that are named after a society.

    Not around these parts. On this blog "society journal" means anything tied to an academic society. Whether they self-publish or have turned the operations over to the great Satan Elsevier.

    Also, in a more general sense it refers to other similar journals which may not be explicitly tied to a society (although I'm uncertain as to how those got started in the first place, perhaps they once were society journals?) but more or less occupy the same place in the ecosphere.

    Nearly invariable we are simply using it as a shorthand to distinguish normal traditional academic journals from the GlamourMags, PLoS offerings, BMC and Frontiers.

    There is also occasion to distinguish amongst the society journals now and again. J Neuro, Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry for example.

  • drugmonkey says:

    there are constant arguments on the AE discussion board about adhering to the stated criteria

    As expected from my point of view......any collection of academics is going to have people of strong, different opinions. Can't expect perfection.

    It does, however, put into context the talk about the rejection rate from PLoS ONE and the acceptance at other journals, etc. Some of those rejections are probably coming from AEs that don't fully get on board and/or reviewers who aren't on board combined with AEs that won't overrule them.

  • drugmonkey says:

    it can't be that significant.

    It is. This kind of money means an extra experiment in my lab. Where "experiment" is something substantial. like 20-25% of a paper. The kind of money that is needed to respond to reviewer complaints.....

  • It does, however, put into context the talk about the rejection rate from PLoS ONE and the acceptance at other journals, etc. Some of those rejections are probably coming from AEs that don't fully get on board and/or reviewers who aren't on board combined with AEs that won't overrule them.

    There is also a relatively new (half a year, maybe?) policy that all AE decisions are reviewed by editorial management staff. Presumably, part of what they are reviewing is adherence to the stated editorial standards of PLoS ONE.

  • miko says:

    CPP, I have chimed in on those discussions but not been involved with any concerted effort to de-douche the AE Board. I have found it useful to restate the criteria to the reviewers when I send things out for a second round. I've even asked a reviewer informally if their recommendation would be different keeping the strict criteria in mind. Sometimes they are happy to do this, other times they are miffed you don't want their expert opinion on "impact." These are usually shitty reviewers anyway, who don't give coherent technical critiques and just handwave BS about "mechanistic insight."

    One time I was almost in the awkward position of having to overturn the recommendation of a reviewer who was on the search committee of a job I was applying for. Luckily, I didn't get shortlisted, making the COI go away.

  • miko says:

    "The kind of money that is needed to respond to reviewer complaints....."

    Yeah, irrelevant reviewer experiments are killing science. There is no editorial will to stop them (though wasn't this was part of the rationale for JNS's supplemental shit banning?), and they are the biggest waste of time and resources there is, as far as I can tell.

    Before this week, I would have said "rotation students," but I just struck gold! I (she) am (is) collecting awesome data right now. It is my first taste of what it must be like to be a PI with competent trainees, and it is the shit.

  • Miko, yeah. I often run into PLoS ONE reviewers that vote for rejection, but don't really have anything to say other than "this is basically the same as paper X published last year but with a new data set", and get miffed (or refuse to review a second time around) when I say that "yes, you're right -- but that isn't enough to reject; is the paper wrong?". Or even weirder, reviewers that reject a paper but say that it should be sent to a specialized journal! I'm just waiting for the reviewer who says "Reject. This should be sent to Nature, Science, or Cell".

  • drugmonkey says:

    There is no editorial will to stop them (though wasn't this was part of the rationale for JNS's supplemental shit banning?), and they are the biggest waste of time and resources there is, as far as I can tell.

    Not true. I have often found editors (real, practicing scientist editors that is) buying our excuses on revision for why we're not going to do the experiments demanded. or even ones on the first round who basically say "The response should not require any additional experiments" in their cover letter part.

  • miko says:

    Yeah, on reflection you are right. I have few pubs, but the two in high IF places were both accepted on appeal and required some actual editorial effort. One was a bad editorial call but the second a wingnut reviewer who wanted endless bad experiments done (though I think disingenuously...he was just trying to force a reject)...that had to be overriden by both positive reviewers and a 4th reviewer.

  • dsks says:

    Wait a minute, if it's the institutions that stand to gain from OA in terms of reduced subscription costs, shouldn't those motherfuckers be ponying up the lucre for their faculty's pubs? It's not as if they don't have an incentive to facilitate the dissemination of their own institutional research.

  • occamseraser says:

    The cost issue with PLoS ONE isn't trivial, but other factors make me reluctant to contribute to what is all-too-often the Public Library of Sh*t. I've seen several papers published in P1 within weeks of having urged their rejection elsewhere, and the authors have usually completely ignored the substantive reasons why they were rejected in the first place. P1 is a little more than a wastebasket journal in some fields.

    I've also reviewed papers for P1 that were shockingly awful, only to see the authors shuffle the author list, slightly modify the title and resubmit successfully, without the revision coming back to me for a second round. And BTW, the old boy network is still alive and well at P1.

  • Virgil says:

    IMHO, PLoS One is cheap. Most recent paper as JBC was $1500 in color figure fees (after the discount for joining ASBMB). Recent paper in another journal was $3600 total, including color figures. Interestingly, during the late stages (2nd round review) it was argued that figures X and Y would "benefit from the use of color". Trolling such as this by editors often bumps up pages charges for otherwise "unprofitable" papers. AJP papers typically run $1k plus. Anything with IF >4 tends to be in the $1-2k ballpark these days.

    Does it change where we submit things? Absolutely NOT. When the Dean of the medical school is breathing down everyone's neck saying that promotion and tenure will be predicated on publications in "top ranking journals", you do what you gotta do to make that happen!

  • drdrA says:

    I'm late. As usual. But... WTF?

    What's with the complaining about the P1 policy (actually, I think it is ALL Plos journals, not just P1) for waiving submission fees without even trying it... or interacting with anyone (single data point) who did try it? Come.on.

    As for the fee itself. Its just extremely common to plan publication fees into grant budgets. Very common. I've done it on every one of my 29 proposals- granted that the detailed budgets are institutional and NIH just needs the modular. Still I'm in the mind set of this just being part of the price of doing business, and I see nothing whatsoever extraordinary about this.

    This is not the biggest criticism I hear of Plos one, not even close. The biggest criticism I hear is in the vast volume of papers published, how do we quickly distinguish the gems? Some believe that when you pick up C/S/ or Nature you get JUST the gems (we can argue about that on some other post)- and there is little sorting necessary.

  • drugmonkey says:

    But... WTF?
    Whatever it takes to elicit a comment from you. Where ya been doubledoc? Doing ALL THE SKIENZ I hope.....

    Its just extremely common to plan publication fees into grant budgets. Very common.
    From your perspective. It is also "extremely common" to plan for no publication fees if your journals of most-frequent publication do not require any such fee. What I am exploring in this post is the fact that people in my subfield areas of interest happen to 1) publish a lot in those free venues and 2) have not discovered PLoS ONE yet (apparently). Those two issues may be connected.

    This is not the biggest criticism I hear of Plos one

    Who said I was criticizing PLoS ONE for having a publication fee?

    Some believe that when you pick up C/S/ or Nature you get JUST the gems

    HAHHAHHAHAHAHAAHAAAHA!!!!! Yeah right.

  • drdrA says:

    Where have I been? Oh lurking... here and there...

    And I may be exaggerating somewhat in the some people think all papers therein are gems statement...but ... Its undeniable that some people use big name journals as a filtering tool for quality and hotness.

  • miko says:

    "The biggest criticism I hear is in the vast volume of papers published, how do we quickly distinguish the gems?"

    There has been talk of this on the AE Board, too...having a special page for gems. This is totally antithetical to P1 for AEs to make this call, however. There is some expectation that AE's will try to highlight papers by initiating commentary or discussion.

    Honestly, I feel like the various Internetz things (RSS feeds, twitter, news sites, pubmed alerts, etc) are pretty good, right? Is it hard to find good papers?

  • drugmonkey says:

    I don't find it hard at all. If it is relevant I'll find it eventually.

  • PoorPI says:

    I may be a minority here, but I DO choose to publish in non-OA (even
    if it means lower-IF) journals just to avoid >$1000 fee. These days, I
    never get the full $ I request for grants, while salaries, tuition, benefits
    rise like 10% year over year. I just don't see the value of the exorbitant OA
    fee to publish my papers written for specific experts that may be cited
    just 4-5 times. Now that most publishers are forced to publish "author
    versions" of NIH-supported papers for free, I don't see the point of wasting
    >$1000 tax money on OA journals just to show off good-lookin'
    copy-edited PDFs.

  • "I just don't see the value of the exorbitant OA fee to publish my papers written for specific experts that may be cited just 4-5 times."

    I don't see the value of the federal government funding research that results in publications that only ever get cited 4-5 times.

  • drugmonkey says:

    "ever" is a long time in citation life

  • drugmonkey says:

    and yes, I did just go check to see what lay under my 5 cite line in Web of Knowledge....

  • Cluster says:

    "I don't see the value of the federal government funding research that results in publications that only ever get cited 4-5 times."

    I beg to differ. No one is saying that an entire federally project should yield only low-impact publications. There are often smaller bits of data, methods, or observations that are not wildly exciting but could be pushed into some obscure journals. In this age of Pubmed and Google, there's a good chance that someone will locate such articles and get something out of it. In fact, some of my best ideas were inspired or augmented by these obscure papers that have hardly been cited. And I can understand the hesitation of paying $1300 to publish such a paper in an OA journal.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Really? Who publishes a paper thinking "this will probably never get cited"? C'mon. Surely even your most pedestrian paper comes with the *hope* someone else will find it valuable enough to cite?

  • Luca says:

    Hi, I can witness that you can get a paper published on PLoS ONE even if you state during
    the submission that you're willing to pay 0$ were it accepted.

    As a PhD student I don't have a budget for publication, I simply explained that and the paper was sent to referee the same.. and after a while they proposed some improvements
    and the paper was accepted...

  • Cluster says:

    "Really? Who publishes a paper thinking "this will probably never get cited"? C'mon. "

    C'mon, I never wrote that. 3 or 4 citations means (assuming they are not self-citations) that at least few people found the article worth citing. Probably 10x more people have read it and maybe some of them got something (even if it's just a small experimental tip) out of it. I'm just saying that those papers are worth publishing because CPP seems to think they are not worth his tax money. I say it's better than getting tax-funded research data go to waste.

    I didn't know that PLoS ONE would waiver the publication fee, but I don't have the nerve to write that I just don't want to spend $1300 on this crappy paper (but still worth publishing) as the reason for waiver request...

  • Lady Day says:

    Just a general statement, but number of citations means nothing if the field is small and and the concepts tested are extremely ahead of their time. Also, we all know that citation of a publication doesn't imply positive affirmation of findings in that publication. In fact, some papers may be cited simply because later publications argue that the previously published data or conclusions drawn from that data are problematic.

    When I look at the literature pertinent to my topic, I simply read the papers and judge the quality of data/merits of the conclusions reached, myself. Numbers of citations and IF don't matter one bit.

  • Confounding says:

    My thought has always been this:

    For-profit journals are, according to general agreement, bleeding universities dry.
    Open Access journals alleviate this cost to the *University* by shifting the cost of publication to individual members of the institution.

    If OA is such a fabulous deal we should all be getting behind, shouldn't the instution be putting its money where its mouth is and heavily subsidizing the transition to OA publication for its faculty? Or is the excitement really just "someone else is paying"?

  • [...] I have a morbid fascination with PLoS ONE and what it means for science, careers in science and the practices within my subfields of [...]

  • [...] in my view. Or do you view it as a potential primary venue...because it enjoys an IF in the 4s and that's well into run-of-the-mill decent for your [...]

  • AnUndergrad says:

    Actually, PLoS ONE no longer grants no-questions-asked fee waivers. From PLoS' Author Billing Team in an email (July 2013): "We as a nonprofit organization do request that authors pay as much as they are so able to help in regards of keeping our organization running. We understand that if you are indeed struggling to the point where absolutely no support can be provided to the detriment of the author, we are able to provide full waivers. The previous correspondence was just to confirm that there was diligence practiced when applying for a fee waiver, as you can imagine many authors abuse the policy."

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