07 July 2008

Should research reviewers strike?

StrikeThere's been a recent set of science blogs posting about a recent Nature article what I talked about over in my Marmorekrebs blog.

Mike the Mad Biologist writes:
That's why I almost never review articles for these journals anymore (as opposed to Open Access journals, which I do--two in the last month alone, and that's during grant season). Seriously, if they ever did want me to review, then they have to pay me just like any other business who wanted to consult my expertise would. If enough of us did that, well, things would get very interesting....
In other words, "Strike! The combined action of the scientific proletariat will bring the bourgeois publishers to their knees!"

I am very ambivalent about this idea. On the one hand, I definitely support the open access model. On the other, strikes only work when there is solidarity, and I am not sure enough researchers are willing to take this cause on. I think it has the potential to hurt scientists who are trying to publish in those journals more than the publishers themselves.

In the long run, I think open access will win just because that's where researchers will chose to submit. I think that serves the cause better than withholding reviews.

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