One simple trick to Glammerficate #pr33ps

Feb 18 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

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.

8 responses so far

  • Luminiferous æther says:

    "Turns out it's stupidly simple."

    Sorry, but the only thing stupid is this post. Especially because.... "Make the suggestion that deposited preprints have some possibility of becoming actual (or semi-) glammagz publications."

    Very soon people would realize that a large majority of preprints on these servers die and rot at the pupa stage instead of transforming into the beautiful butterfly. And this realization would demolish the significance of these servers. Unless the submission is from a BSD lab, in which case the perception might tilt *slightly* in your favor. But then we are back to square one and have achieved nothing different from what's going on already in Glamland.

    • odyssey says:

      Stupid? Maybe. I've been accused of worse.

      But then we are back to square one and have achieved nothing different from what's going on already in Glamland.

      Ultimately that's the point. Preservation of glamhumping.

  • Rheophile says:

    I'm pretty sure this is what Nature was trying to do with Nature Precedings... but it doesn't seem to have worked out. I suspect it is not a great strategy anyway, since it dilutes the glam brand without adding additional profit. Nature is probably much happier with Scientific Reports/Nature Communications instead.

    • odyssey says:

      I'd honestly forgotten about Precedings. In my defense, it was pretty forgettable.

      I think it's a mistake to believe the Glammagz will only do things to enhance profit. If preprints gain serious traction that becomes a viable threat to the current publishing model.* Publishers will respond in order to preserve their profits. The Glammagz have proven themselves particularly adept at that and at promoting a glamhumping culture.

      * Dismantlement of the publishing enterprise appears to be the ultimate goal of some proponents of OA and preprints.

  • There's a simple solution ... don't do it that way. Don't think anyone thinks it's a good idea to have journals run pre-print servers. This is something to be done by the National Library of Medicine and NSF in US and by comparable organizations internationally who share preprints and create a resource where anyone - researchers, healthcare works, teachers, students, interested members of the public - can get access to any paper published by anyone, anywhere. You really think that this is a bad thing?

    Yes, it's possible to corrupt such a system if we don't make sure it's structured and run fairly. But the solution is to do it well. And you really think complaints about science publishing are a fad? You really think a system that costs billions of dollars, is deeply biased and is structured to all but ensure that the rich get richer, takes longer to publish papers than it does to send rockets to Mars, and which denies 99.99% of the people on the planet, including over 99% of teachers and students, and well over 50% of practicing scientists access isn't borked?

    • odyssey says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I'm working up a response to this, but it's going to be long enough to be a post by itself. I'll let you know when it's up.