scientists vs. publishers vs. wikipedia

by Hugh

From the New Scientist:

Scientists who want to describe their work on Wikipedia should not be forced to give up the kudos of a respected journal. So says a group of physicists who are going head-to-head with a publisher because it will not allow them to post parts of their work to the online encyclopaedia, blogs and other forums.

[more…]

Leaving aside the problem that posting about your own work on Wikipedia, violates two policies (no original research, and don’t edit articles about yourself or your work) … this is an interesting showdown.

Open Access journals, free and open to web linking, is the way science publishing has to go, for the same reasons NYTimes can’t keep its articles behind registration walls. Value is increasingly defined by network authority (is there an agreed term for this, or can I claim coinage of “network authority”?), aka google juice; and if you are out of the network, you are out of the authority. Scientists realize this – hence the desire to get their stuff on Wikipedia … Journals realize that it chips into their control of information, which it does. But like all other businesses, fighting it won’t make it go away, and the sooner they rejig their business models, the better.

Which opens the question: with the web as publishing platform, is there really a need to have academic journals running as businesses? Or is there a better way?