The twits have been all abuzz over the latest "science publishing is borked!!!!!!" fad. Preprint servers. I have nothing against this - I may well try it out someday soon.* But let's face it, just like Open Access, it's only a matter of time before the Glammagz find a way to turn this to their advantage.
How would glammagz glammerficate a preprint server? Turns out it's stupidly simple.
Step 1: Set up a preprint server (e.g. Cell's Repository of Archived Preprints).
Actually, that's probably enough. There are an awful lot of people desperate to have some form of publication (or in this case pre-publication) with glammagz cachet that such servers will quickly become the depositories of choice. We've already seen that with glam open access. But...
And here's the simple trick...
Step 2: Make the suggestion that deposited preprints have some possibility of becoming actual (or semi-) glammagz publications.
It doesn't even have to be real. Hint that depositing there opens some kind of pipeline to the editors. Kind of, sort of (but not really) encourage authors submitting to the glammagz to deposit the associated preprint. Tell the desperate throngs your editors will occasionally trawl though the server looking for items to highlight on an associated website. Use your imagination, it's not hard to come up with something.
And BAM!, there you have it, a glammificated preprint server. One that helps to perpetuate the glamhumping culture.
So what? They would still be free and the science would be available sooner, right?
Free, yes. Sooner? Maybe. If you're hoping to snag a glammagz pub out of this, maybe not. You'd want to put your best diamond-encrusted, gold-plated boot-covered foot forward, wouldn't you? That takes time.
And then there's the control issue. The glammagz would control the server and its contents. And how they're presented (ReadCube anyone?). They could highlight those deposits that best suit their need to reinforce the unseemly glamhumping so many feel is essential to stay alive in the current funding environment. Do we really want the glammagz to have more control over science?
Preprint servers. A solution to the wrong problem.
* For better or worse, I've never been one to hide what I'm working on. If I'm scooped, I'm scooped. I'd rather get the feedback from my people in my sub-field and forge useful relationships with them.