Monday, May 1, 2017

What The Actual Fudge

Scientific information wants to be free is a website where scientists can upload copies of their scientific papers to be downloaded for free by other people who want to know about their research. ResearchGate is another such website. The reason for existence of both of these sites is that scientific journals are very, very expensive and many important and skilled researchers don't have access to the world's knowledge*. This is bad for everyone. Now, has started charging for advanced searches of their database. This pretty much eliminates their reason to exist. I had already switched over to ResearchGate, because I found it easier to use. I urge any working scientist to do the same now if you haven't already.

*Scientific journals are important and they need money to exist. However, journals published by universities and by professional scientific societies include much of the world's most important information, and they are relatively inexpensive. By contrast, journals published by private publishers like Springer-Verlag, and Elsevier, also contain important information, but they are an order of magnitude more expensive. Further, new, online journals, like Palaeontologia Electronica and PLOS 1, are free to read. They are becoming more and more important, and soon they will probably dominate all of those scientific fields that require large amounts of visual or animated media to convey the information that researchers produce. I call on all scientists to patronize publications that do not victimize libraries and researchers by charging an arm and a leg for information that should never be that expensive.

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