Monday, March 14, 2016

Research papers need a new business model; can you "adopt" someone by being tagged?


“It’s free”.  Maybe the public library, perhaps.   But not research papers. In the New York Times on Sunday, Review, p. 6, Kate Murphy asks “Should all research be free?”  Maybe she could quote Reid Ewing dancing in front of an LA Public Library.  Of course, Murphy is referring to the activism of Alexandra Elbakyan in Russia (discussed here Feb. 22).
 
She does discuss the business model of the academic research publishers, and suggests they really don’t have their own skin in the publishing game the way traditional publishers must.

So, yes, the old business model for (peer reviewed) academic publishing has an understandably high barrier to entry for professors and graduate students.  But the problem is access to them is very expensive even for other professors and students that need them to do further research.  Furthermore, high schoolers and undergraduates, otherwise individually capable of professional research, would be shut out by the old model.  Yes, medical or energy technology revolutions can start with science fairs.

Both Andraka brothers (with separate, unrelated projects), and Taylor Wilson, have proved this.  The paywall could mean that the revolution cancer detection and treatment, or in clean energy, or in detection of terrorist weaponry, that we really need, just doesn’t happen at all.



So the business model needs some rethinking.  Donald Trump wouldn’t like this, but too bad.
   
Here’s another topic.  Recently, I’ve gotten notifications from Facebook of being tagged in some photos, out of town or even overseas (places where I definitely was not present).  A couple of them appear to be images of kids in Africa needing sponsors from a particular faith-based charity.  When I check, I don’t see the tags there.  But the implication is maybe someone is trying to claim I have sponsored a child that in fact I have not (March 2).  I don’t know if I need to react to this or not. You cannot adopt a child just on a social media site.

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