Storify is shutting down soon. Which is a shame. There was a point where I, and others, were using is a lot. It was a nice way to compile lots of internet resources into a single coherent timeline.
This has some relevance to matters of scientific publishing. On lots of sites like Quora, I see variations of, “Why can’t scientific articles be free to read?” Heck, here are some:
- Why can't research papers be made public?
- Why is Elsevier charging money for access to research that was publicly funded?
- Why haven't university-owned journals overtaken private journals?
- Why do scientists use journals for publishing papers instead of publishing them for free online?
Online services — like Storify — may contribute to the lack of understanding that publishing is not free, regardless of whether the reader pays or not. They make stories, it costs them only a sign-up information, and they wonder why scientific publishing can’t be the same.
People do not understand that services that are called “free” are only free to them, not free across the board. Someone is paying bills. Preprint servers get millions of dollars in support to keep them running.
Or, you have operations that are not able to make a go of it, and close up shop, like Storify is now doing. Or like Google Reader did. (That one still makes me sad.)
The closing of Storify shows one of the reasons “free” is not a good way to think about scientific publishing. “Free to read,” sure. But as much as I love me some free to user online services (like Blogger, which has powered my writing here for over a decade and a half), they’re not a good model for scholarly publication.
I am playing with Wakelet as a replacement for Storify.
Hat tip to Carl Zimmer for the news about Storify.