Right, that’s it — time for the revolution
September 3, 2009
UPDATE (from Matt): I also bring good news … and bad news.
The good news is that the entire dinosaur issue of Anatomical Record is open access after all. So this post is mainly of historical interest now, and you should get on over to the page for this issue and download all the free dinosaurian goodness.
The bad news is that the representatives from Wiley never told anyone any of this when inquiries were made two weeks ago–if they had, this particular teacup could have stayed storm-free–and that they apparently still want institutions to pay $575 for a single Open Access issue of the journal. Whether those moves are predatory or just clueless, they are not earning Wiley any friends.
I bring good news … and bad news.
Good news! Tom Holtz reported in a message to the Dinosaur Mailing List that there is new issue of The Anatomical Record out that is concerned entirely with dinosaurs! The online table of contents shows that there’s lots of good stuff.
Bad news! It’s not open access.
Good news! You can buy access to the articles.
Bad news! The price of the articles is NOT STATED. That’s right, folks: you have to register with Wiley InterScience before they will EVEN TELL YOU THE PRICE! Way to go, Wiley! THAT’s the way to make sure important research is widely disseminated!
Good news! B tH wrote to ask the publisher for a price, and got a reply, which he shared in another Dinosaur Mailing List message:
Bad news! This is the reply (which I can’t format better, thanks to totally unnecessary limitations in WordPress):
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 12:48:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: B tH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: re: special all-dino issue
I wrote to ask them how much ordering this singl issue was – they wanted to know if I was ordering for an institution or myself. This is the price they quoted me to buy and read it at night with a flashlight under the blankey – and I am totally serious:
That’s right, five HUNDRED and seventy-five buckeroos. I assured them they were quite mad, and have to face the fact I won’t get to see it. Waaah.
Good news! B tH realised that Wiley had quoted him the institutional rate and wrote to clarify. The exchange is documented in yet another Dinosaur Mailing List message.
Bad news! This is the exchange:
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 6:07 PM
Subject: RE: wanting to purchase an issue of the magazine [pfCase:1078353,
Um, I think you’ve made an error.
Five-Hundred and Seventy-Five dollars for an issue of a magazine? ??
The Anatomical Record, Volume 292, Issue 9
Thank you for your email.
As we do not have Individual rates for this title, hence the Institutional single issue rate was quoted instead.
Please provide us with a billing and shipping address if you require a proforma invoice for this order and I will happy to assist you.
Customer Services Advisor
Journal Customer Services for John Wiley & Sons
Good news! The revolution is coming, and things like this can only bring it on. And Wiley’s InterScience department are a bunch of mindless jerks who will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.
Yes, Wiley’s behaviour here is totally absurd and absolutely unethical. No, Wiley didn’t themselves write the articles that they want to charge FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE FREAKIN’ DOLLARS for. Neither did they pay the authors to do so. Do you know how it comes to be that Wiley are the owners of these articles, and thus in a position to extort for access? Happily, the reason is right here in the Instructions to Authors:
Upon acceptance of an article for publication, the author will be asked to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement transferring rights to the publisher, who reserves copyright.
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Like all of us do most times we submit a manuscript, the authors just signed away the ownership of their work. Just like that. Work that was funded, if at all, by public funds, just handed over to a grossly exploitative for-profit commercial enterprise that — quite clearly, from the exchanges above — has no interest whatsoever in the advancement or dissemination of science.
Folks, we have got to stop doing this. I can (just) stomach handing copyright of my work over to professional societies such as the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (required for the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology) or the Palaeontological Association (required for Palaeontology) [although frankly there is absolutely no good reason for these journals to make that requirement]. But I will NOT give my work to these parasitic commercial publishers, and I strongly urge you not to, either. We should all of us be supporting open-access journals where possible; and failing that, at least those published by non-profit organisations. I am not going to be propping up Elsevier, Wiley and the rest with any of my stuff.
Deep in our heart, we all — Wiley included — know that non-open academic publishing is dead, even if the corpse is still blundering around trying to eat our brains. This sort of extortion (I mean the FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE FREAKIN’ DOLLARS kind) is death throes. It’s probably going to get messier before the stakes are finally driven through the hearts of the bloodsuckers. But take heart: morning is coming, and they will all turn to dust.
And finally …
More Good news! I give you NHM 46869, the holotype of Chondrosteosaurus gigas Owen 1876, a badly eroded cervical centrum from some kind of sauropod, in right lateral view:
This is the mate of NHM 46870, a specimen that we have already given way too much coverage, and which has sometimes been considered the cotype along with 46869. Unlike its mate, it has not been sliced down the middle, and is — for what it’s worth — “complete” (i.e. not actually complete at all).
- Owen, Richard. 1876. Monograph of the fossil Reptilia of the Wealden and Purbeck formations. Supplement 7. Crocodilia (Poikilopleuron), Dinosauria (Chondrosteosaurus), Palaeontographical Society of London [Monographs], 29:15-93.