Closed access irony award: Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason on social media and scholars

Well, isn’t this ironic.  There are a few news stories I was pointed to about a recent paper from Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason at Michigan State.  Here is one of the stories: Why scholars don’t trust social media? | Business Standard.  And here is a link to the paper: Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media.

In the news story linked above one of the authors of the study is reported to have said:

“Only a minority of university researchers are using free and widely available social media to get their results and published insights out and into the hands of the public, even though the mission of public universities is to create knowledge that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Greenhow explained.

And here are some quotes from another story: The “Ivory Tower” Appears Reluctant to Use Social Media:

I’m arguing that we need more “social scholars.” Social scholars use social media to publish and interact with scholarly output and to join an online community around their topic. Social scholarship is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision… engaging an informal, social review process may help surface inaccuracies and engage a wider, nonspecialist audience.

And also

“Academia is not serving as a model of social media use or preparing future faculty to do this,” Greenhow said. Adding, “The issue is at the heart of larger discussions regarding accessibility, equal rights to higher education, transparency and accountability.”

Obviously people who know me would know that I certainly feel that it would be good to have more scholars being active users of social media. Though I don’t think I would push the discussion too far into “equal rights” at least in this context.

But though I support the general idea of some of the quotes from Greenhow, I can’t say I agree with what is in the paper.  I can’t say I disagree with it either.  You know why.  Because I do not have %&(#(&$ access to the paper.  This is what I get when I try to get the paper:

So let me get this straight.  There is a scholarly paper discussing the limited use of social / free / open media by scholars.  And one of the authors of the paper is lamenting this limited sharing of knowledge.  And the paper is not openly available.  Brilliant.

Closed Access Award #2: Andrey Rzhetsky, Michael Seringhaus and Mark Gerstein

Just got pointed to a new paper by someone near and dear to me. In this paper (Seeking a New Biology through Text Mining), Andrey Rzhetsky, Michael Seringhaus and Mark Gerstein seem to argue for the importance of text mining for the future of biology research. Text mining is indeed an important new tool in biology. Of course, it works best if you have access to the text. Alas, I would tell you more about their paper, but I have been out sick and stuck at home, and I do not have access to their paper, which was published in Cell. And thus, even without seeing their paper, I am giving them my second “Closed Access Award” for apparently outlining a path for a new biology that will be only available to some, not all.

Closed Access Award #1: American Psychological Association

Well, I wrote up this award a short time ago and already the story has changed. But I am still giving the award. On Tuesday, Peter Suber reported that

The American Psychological Association may have the worst publisher policy to date for NIH-funded authors. Excerpt:

In compliance with [the NIH OA policy], APA will deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript of NIH-funded research to PMC upon acceptance for publication. The deposit fee of $2,500 per manuscript for 2008 will be billed to the author’s university per NIH policy….

Even after collecting the fee, the APA will not deposit the published version of the article, will not allow OA release for 12 months, will not allow authors to deposit in PMC themselves (and bypass the fee), will not allow authors to deposit in any other OA repository, and will not allow authors to retain copyright.

I agree with Peter that this is a stunningly inane move on their part (for more discussion see Suber’s follow up here). They are basically saying that to carry out a simply electronic submission they will charge $2500.

Apparently someone convinced them this was not the brightest thing in the world to do as they are now reconsidering this move (I learned about this reconsideration from the Scientist magazine blog here … you need to register to read the blog). This blog reports

A statement sent to The Scientist today from APA Publisher Gary VandenBos said: “A new document deposit policy…is currently being re-examined and will not be implemented at this time…APA will soon be releasing more detailed information about the complex issues involved in the implementation of the new NIH Public Access Policy.”

VandenBos was not available for further comment.

Even though they are reconsidering their policy, since they have not out and out rescinded it, I am still giving the American Psychological Association my first “Closed Access Award” for this incredibly silly move