Before asking where we want to go from here, we asked ourselves, what is ‘here’ and how does the current publishing paradigm impact our scholarly activities. We agreed the current hallmarks of here are a closed peer review system; access to publication at a high price for an institution, individual reader, or an author; a privileged place for narrative accounts of science, often to the exclusion of other forms of scholarly production; and a lack of interactivity with scholarly products.
Many of these are changing – often in small ways. This is good, but it it enough?
How does this current system treat us as scientists and the different hats we wear?
The Five Hats we Wear and How the Current Publishing Paradigm Affects them:
1) Reader – readers are fine…if you’re reading papers at an R1. Although even then, there are cracks in the foundation. If they’re not at an R1, there may be severe problems in accessing materials you want to read.
2) Author – the current system works OK for authors, although it may waste time in the resubmission process.
3) Data producer – currently, there is no recognition for data and code production, although this is changing with data and methods journals – although they require an additional companion paper quite often.
4) Practitioner – As a practitioner, you want to interact with your peers and discuss the results from scholarly articles. There are currently no ways to do that without going outside of an article and writing on a blog or somesuch. This interaction is then decoupled from the original journal article.
5) Payer – As someone who pays for access, you lose. You are subject to the whim of the publication industry. The cost is always high.