Monday, 21 March 2011
I Won't Review Green OA, It's Spam - I DO NOT LIKE IT Sam-I-Am
According to the Times Higher, Michael Mabe (chief executive of the International Association of Scientific, Medical and Technical Publishers and a visiting professor in information science at University College London) fears that repositories are essentially "electronic buckets" with no quality control. He also expressed doubts that the academy would be able to successfully introduce peer review to such repositories, partly because it would be difficult to attract reviewers who had no "brand allegiance" to the repositories.
Let's think about this....
Q: Who are the authors of papers?
Q: Who put papers in repositories?
A: The authors.
Q: Who review papers?
A: The authors of other papers.
Q: Where do they get papers to review?
A: From a URL provided by the journal editorial board.
Q: Who are the editorial board?
A: Authors of other papers.
Q: Just remind me what the publishers do?
A: Their most important job is to organise the processes that get the peer review accomplished by the other authors (see above).
Q: Where does the brand value of a journal come from?
A: It's a bit complicated, but mainly from the prestige of the authors on the editorial board and the prestige of the papers that the authors write. There is a default brand that comes from the publishing company that owns the journal, but of course that comes recursively from the brand value of all the journals that it owns.
Q: "Electronic buckets" don't sound very valuable, do they?
A: No they certainly don't - I mean, imagine the kind of material that normally ends up in a bucket! Who would want to peer-review that? But hang on - who stores stuff in buckets anyway? That's a bit of a problematic metaphor for a storage system! Try replacing "buckets" with "library shelves" and the statement becomes more accurate. What kind of material do you find on library shelves? Things that people might want to read. Things that people might want to review.
Q: But how would authors know what to review in a repository without the publishing company's branding?
A: I suppose an editorial board would send them a URL.