In Soviet Russia, you pay for the job

Speaking of publishing science, there’s an excellent breakdown in Nature by assistant editor Richard Van Noorden of the costs of publishing in scientific journals. Also: how nobody has any idea where those costs come from. 

I’m fairly certain that you can grab it without paywall nonsense, but with my always-on Ivory Tower Internet-Spigot-of-Science, I’m never 100% sure.  There’s a lot in it, but in case you can’t, the lede hits a good note:

The biggest travesty, [Michael Eisen – molecular biologist] says, is that the scientific community carries out peer review — a major part of scholarly publishing — for free, yet subscription-journal publishers charge billions of dollars per year, all told, for scientists to read the final product.

There’s also some excellent discussion of the idea that the big journals serve to add value, either through rigorous copy editing, editorial staff contributions, or just as a plain gatekeeper of what they think should be the best science (an idea I’ve got my own serious problems with).

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