Rogue Scholar Posts

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Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

In opposition to my speech supporting the motion “the open access movement has failed”, here’s what Jessica Polka said in opposition to the motion. The open access movement has not failed. It is in the process of succeeding. Indeed, over 50% of papers are now open access.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

As he noted yesterday, Matt is out this week at the Tate conference, where he’ll be giving a keynote on the misleading patterns of sauropod taphonomy. But why am I not out there with him? We did start making tentative plans for a Wyoming Sauropocalypse centered on the Tate conference, but we couldn’t find a way to make it work for various reasons.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

In the first of two disapointing scholarly-communication announcements last week, Jisc announced its report on progress towards open access in the UK. The key finding is: But that’s not the part that disappoints me. Here’s the part that disappoints me: Sometimes I think people don’t know what “transitional” means.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Mike D’Emic’s new paper The evolution of maximum terrestrial body mass in sauropod dinosaurs is out! Yay! Relevant to our interests! Obviously I want to read this paper, so I simply … 1. Go to the paper’s page at Current Biology . 2. It’s paywalled. 3. There is a “Log in” option at top right, but it’s only for an account specific to … what? This journal? This publisher? 4. Find another copy at Science Direct.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

I was a bit shaken to read this short article, Submit It Again! Learning From Rejected Manuscripts (Campbell et al. 2022), recently posted on Mastodon by open-access legend Peter Suber. For example: Let’s pick this apart a bit. “Because they recently published a similar article” ? What is this nonsense.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

It’s been a while since we checked in on our old friends Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley — collectively, the big legacy publishers who still dominate scholarly publishing. Like every publisher, they have realised which way the wind is blowing, and flipped their rhetoric to pro-open access — a far cry from the days when they were hiring PR “pit bulls” to smear open access. These days, it’s clear that open access is winning.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Many aspects of scholarly publishing are presently in flux. But for most journals the process of getting a paper published remains essentially the same as decades ago, the main change being that documents are sent electronically rather than by post. It begins with the corresponding author of the paper submitting a manuscript — sometimes, though not often, in response to an invitation from a journal editor.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Last time, we looked at the difference between cost, value and price, and applied those concepts to simple markets like the one for chairs, and the complex market that is scholarly publication. We finished with the observation that the price our community pays for the publication of a paper (about $3,333 on average) is about 3–7 times as much as its costs to publish ($500-$1000)? How is this possible?

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

We have a tendency to be sloppy about language in everyday usage, so that words like “cost”, “value” and “price” are used more or less interchangeably. But economists will tell you that the words have distinct meanings, and picking them apart is crucial to understand economic transaction. Suppose I am a carpenter and I make chairs: The cost of the chair is what it costs me to make it: raw materials, overheads, my own time, etc.

Published in Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Today should be a day of rejoicing, as it brings us a new sauropod: Arackar licanantay Rubilar-Rogers et al. 2021., a small titanosaur from Chile. It’s not, though. Because not only is this paper behind a paywall in Elsevier’s journal Cretaceous Research , but the paywalled paper is what they term a “pre-proof” — a fact advertised in a tiny font half way down the page rather than in a giant red letters at the top.