The Real Research Revolution


Actually - in site of what I wrote below - I do think there's a revolution happening. But its not exactly what Professor Quigley is talking about.

The internet continues to pose a threat to vested media and knowledge-control industries. I had to reprise my 'peer review' comic after reading this story in Nature. Here's a shortened version (full tale www.nature.com/news; see also The n-Category Café.)

... a group of big scientific publishers has hired [infamous PR consultant Eric Dezenhall, nicknamed 'the pit bull'] to take on the free-information movement, which campaigns for scientific results to be made freely available. Some traditional journals, which depend on subscription charges, say that open-access journals and public databases of scientific papers such as the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) PubMed Central, threaten their livelihoods.

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The consultant advised them to focus on simple messages, such as "Public access equals government censorship". He hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review, and "paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles".

So, the revolution - the real one - is about "public access" (read: "free access by the poor and unwashed") to scientific and research papers.

This parallels a growing public access to (free) news and views presented outside the gatekeeping of our traditional media.

The conservative voices cry out in warning about lack of peer review or editorial oversight and fact-checking.

The rest of us recall big media's mis-information campaign in support of the invasion of Iraq and the American Psychological Association position that, in wartime, a little torture can be okay.

Yeah, we could use a revolution or two.

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