Stephen Buryani, writing in The Guardian (full report) (Tue 27 Jun 2017 06.00 BST), asks: " Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?"
His report is an extended expose of profiteering by the private corporations that control scientific publishing, yet the answer is ambiguous. The silent question raised is: "What would have happened if private companies had not led expansion and innovation in scientific publishing, over the last 100 years?"
The following quotations are from near the beginning of this brilliant, surprising, and enlightening report. I strongly urge all members of our network to read the original if they can.
Quotes, courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd:
"In 2010, Elsevier’s scientific publishing arm reported profits of £724m on just over £2bn in revenue. It was a 36% margin – higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year."
"...scientific publishers manage to duck most of the actual costs. Scientists create work under their own direction – funded largely by governments – and give it to publishers for free; the publisher pays scientific editors who judge whether the work is worth publishing and check its grammar, but the bulk of the editorial burden – checking the scientific validity and evaluating the experiments, a process known as peer review – is done by working scientists on a volunteer basis. The publishers then sell the product back to government-funded institutional and university libraries, to be read by scientists – who, in a collective sense, created the product in the first place."
"A 2005 Deutsche Bank report referred to it as a “bizarre” “triple-pay” system, in which “the state funds most research, pays the salaries of most of those checking the quality of research, and then buys most of the published product”."
"Even scientists who are fighting for reform are often not aware of the roots of the system: how, in the boom years after the second world war, entrepreneurs built fortunes by taking publishing out of the hands of scientists and expanding the business on a previously unimaginable scale."
[Note: 223 words are quoted here. Under the terms of an Open License , the Guardian permits up to 500 words to be quoted with attribution, in blogs such as this. Sincere thanks to Guardian News & Media for these generous terms! (PJM)]
For example, the Percent (%) Solutions Calculator includes not just a calculator that covers different measurement scales,it also has a nice text explaining the three different ways of calculating percentages for solutes in solutions (w/v, w/w, and v/v).
The "Mapping Genetic Diversity" was an international research project supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS Kakenhi No. 17H04614). Project period: 1st April 2017 - 31st March 2021.
Taro ( Colocasia esculenta ) is an ancient root and vegetable crop of temperate and tropical regions of Africa, Eurasia, and Oceania. In recent centuries it also reached the Americas. We are attempting to learn more about the natural and cultural history of this crop, in Southeast Asia and beyond.
The application for JSPS funding was submitted in October 2016, and accepted in April 2017. These were public funds administered through the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan, under the direction of the project leader, Dr Peter J. Matthews.
Further publications are planned and will be announced here when published.
Links to related publications by other project members can be added to the Project website, as time permits (e.g. on cultivated taro, or aroid taxonomy). A Wild Taro Working Group will also be developed here.
Until the beginning of 2021, the Wild Taro Research Project was supported by a four-year JSPS grant (1st April 2017- 31st March 2020).
In 2021, Dr Matthews received support from a JSPS project led by Dr Rintaro Ono, and in 2022 he joined a project led by Dr Rintaro Ono at the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan: Maritime Asia and Oceania Studies. This project in turn is supported under the framework of a Networked Core Project for the Promotion of Global Area Studies, directed by the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), Japan.
The funding made available through this collaboration is enough to support a part-time research assistant and analysis of samples collected during previous fieldwork. Our main focus will be a study of genetic diversity in the cultivated aroid Alocasia macrorrhizos and its near relatives (including to some extent Colocasia spp.).
Photo: Alocasia odora in regenerating forest, Ishigaki Island, Japan (PJM, February 2022)