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Nobel laureate Randy Schekman: How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science

Mike Ciavarella's picture

An article on the Guardian here.  Critics will say Shelkman has founded his own open access journal, here, probably competing with Nature, Cell and Science, which explains a lot.



arunraina's picture

I believe many in academia will agree with this Guardian article. For publishers, like those mentioned in the article and many more like Elsevier, they are running a highly profitable business with annual revenues of millions USD [Ref]. The annual subscription prices or open access prices are exorbitant, not to mention the copyright transfer which isn't exactly favorable for publishing authors.

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Some mostly french collegues are discussing actively about creating an epi-journal in Mechanics

Discussion group is here and I suggested them to move it to Imechanica too.


1. Building a community for an epijournal in Mechanics

The purpose of this discussion group is to promote the creation of an epijournal in Mechanics, namely an open access electronic journal taking its contents from preprints deposited on open archives such as arXiv or HAL. These preprints cannot be published elsewhere and undergo a rigorous review process similar to the best journals in the field.

Wenbin Yu's picture

One thing many  open access journals has is the paper processing charges. I don't think many authors would like to pay to get their papers published. I am one of them. The ideal will be to create a journal completely free (free to the authors and free to the readers) and with enough credibility so that universities will be considered in their performance evaluations of their faculty.  

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Dear Wenbin

   thank you for your comment!   Yes, many open-acces journals now charge authors --- even PRL, Nature Scientific Reports, and many other journals now are doing this.   Even less high-ranking like Hindawi charges APC of order 1000-2000€, which is not acceptable.

With Epi journals, the concept is different: you put your paper on arXiv,  for example, and submit a link to this paper to the Editorial board, after some reviews this link can be accepted to be included in the table of content of this journal.

The key point is that it's free and requires only a simple web-site and even no data storage. At least in the first time.

The main point is indeed to make it completely free.


Mike Ciavarella's picture

Vox health reporter Julia Belluz has recently covered the reliability of peer-review. In her follow-up piece, she asked “Do prestigious science journals attract bad science?“. However, she only covered the data on retractions, but another study here shows that in six areas, unconfounded data covering orders of magnitude more material than the confounded retraction data reveal only two out of three possible general outcomes:

a) Non-retracted experiments reported in high-ranking journals are no more methodologically sound than those published in other journals.
b) Non-retracted experiments reported in high-ranking journals are less methodologically sound than those published in other journals

Not a single study we know of (there may be some we missed! Let me know.) shows the third option of higher-ranking journals publishing the most sound experiments. It is this third option that at least one analysis should have found somewhere if there was anything to journal rank with regard to reliability.

Mike Ciavarella's picture

These claims are of course very strong and call for some skepticism.

Indeed, these in turn scientific papers not published in proper journals with scientific peer review, and may well be false.

I am not sure if this CV of Julia Belluz is truthful, because if it is, she has graduated from top schools and has obtained top prizes working in top journals.

However, her attachments to antivaccine movements, and other weird and non-scientific things, make me very skeptical.  


Julia BelluzJulia Belluz

Senior health correspondent, evidence enthusiast

Julia Belluz is Vox's senior health correspondent, focused on medicine, science, and public health. She's covered topics as varied as the anti-vaccine movementAmerica's staggering maternal mortality problem, how dark chocolate became a health food, and what makes America's sickest county so unhealthy. She has also debunked numerous medical misinformation peddlers such as Dr. OzGwyneth Paltrow, and Alex Jones.

In 2015, Julia launched Vox’s Show Me the Evidence series, which goes beyond the frenzy of daily headlines to take a deeper look at the state of the science behind pressing health questions, from treatments for chronic back pain to why exercise is not helpful when it comes to weight loss.

Before joining Vox, Julia was a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT and her writing appeared in a range of international publications, including the BMJ, the Chicago Tribune, the Economist and Economist's Intelligent Life magazine, the Globe and Mail, the LA Times, Maclean’s, the National Post, Slate, and the Times of London. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics.. She is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the 2016 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, the 2017 American Society of Nutrition Journalism Award, and several Canadian National Magazine Awards. Outside of reporting, she speaks regularly at universities and conferences the world over, and has been a fellow at McMaster University. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics. Follow her on Twitter @juliaoftoronto.

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Based on a decision by the National Research Council, all publications produced in SNSF-funded projects are to be freely available in digital format as of 2020. This follows other countries, see Svizzera, Olanda Gran Bretagna (qui, e qui) l’Austria,  Germania, Svezia, Francia, Danimarca, Belgio  

Wenbin Yu's picture

Mike, inspired by your post, I proposed some other ideas along with your suggestions and started a new thread at Feel free to comment.

Mike Ciavarella's picture remains difficult to raise a new journal, either traditional or innovative.  The growth of traditional journals perhaps hasn't stopped yet, and of course first or later we will move to new forms, as the previous system is on the verge of collapse.   But it is difficult to predict.   You need to put serious effort into this, and maybe the reward will be great.   I am involved in many battles in italian academia, in science, and if I find energy, I will help you too.  But it is not simple!

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