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Re: [tlug] Journals, Authors and 'Free Peer Review'


On 25 September 2018 at 22:26, Raymond Wan <> wrote:

On 25/09/18 20:53, Benjamin Kowarsch wrote:
> On 25 September 2018 at 21:34, Raymond Wan
> < <>> wrote:
>     The points I raised weren't actually by me but by an ACM
>     society that was conducting a survey last year that was
>     asking for opinions from their members.  That's when I
>     realized this whole issue of preprint servers is by no
>     means
>     "solved".
> At ACM, using is not an issue. In fact there are
> several ACM virtual journals
> now that are overlays, their articles are links to
> ACM has embraced this trend.

The survey I refer to was just sent out last year (if I
remember could have been this year).  The
fact that they are soliciting opinions seems to me that it
hasn't yet been decided yet.

It suggests to me that they are looking into expanding those journals that are overlays.

They aren't easy questions to answer and one shouldn't be
too quick to make a decision.  And maybe if it isn't the
decision that some people would like, it might be in 5 or 10
years time...

They have been doing journals solely based on publicly available articles since the early 00s.

And some of those journals were started in direct competition with market leading journals by
commercial competitors, for example Pearson, often with the result that the open source ACM
journals took the crown from the competing journal.

The old business model milking the free cow for all it is worth is on its way out. ACM are
amongst those taking advantage of the trend.

> It is the Pearsons and brethren who may take an issue
> because to them it is not about
> eminating scientific knowledge, for them it is only about
> making money and they may
> well perceive open sourcing scientific articles as a thread
> to their business model.

There are many publishing companies out there and those that
we know of in CS aren't the only ones.  i.e., ACM, Pearsons,
etc.  Some *are* actually looked at positively by the
community which they work with.  I think it would be a
mistake to have this opinion based on the engineering
discipline and try to apply to everyone else.

This isn't my opinion nor my assessment. I read plenty of articles from scholars
such as K.Apt and others from different fields in the natural sciences and it
is their assessments which I am simply presenting, though paraphrased.

> I seriously recommend you read that artcile by K.Apt ;-)

As for this, you should also re-consider what I said before.
  It isn't like I disagree with you, but this is the
environment which I and perhaps others in my discipline work
within.  If you're low on the food chain and make a stand
and say "No, I'm publishing with ArXiv", then guess what?
There will be another who is happy to play by their rules
who is more than happy to take my place.

I didn't say you should say No.

I said you should publish on AND then submit to journals those papers
you published there that are of sufficient significance to stand a chance to get
published in a journal.

Perhaps you will find it will make you more productive since you know very
well that not everything you are competent to write about and not even
everything of interest to others will stand a chance to be published in
a peer reviewed journal.

With such a high threshold, many scholars put off writing articles that they
could have written since they know it would likely not make it into a peer
reviewed journal, so they don't write it, which is unfortunate.

In an email exchange I had with Don Knuth, even he lamented
that "good papers get rejected because they aren't trendy".

I am guilty of this myself along with my research partner. We have been
working on a project for almost 10 years (though part time, not full time)
and written plenty of stuff for private circulation with peers for feedback,
white papers and wikis but only one article in a peer reviewed journal.

Had we not worried so much about whether what material we could produce
might make it into a peer review journal, we would likely have produced tens
of articles by now which could have been published on and some
of those would certainly have been accepted for publishing in peer reviewed

We have changed our attitude on this now and will be producing those
papers we should have written without worrying whether it is worth the
effort under the premise that the only criteria is whether or not they will
appear in a peer reviewed journal, which is a silly metric really.

A paper I have recently posted on is all about legacy software,
not something of broad appeal that would be likely of interest to any
peer reviewed journal (perhaps HOPL might take it as a conference
submission, but not likely anyone else). I wrote this paper to predominantly
for myself (a) to brush up my LaTeX skills which had gone rusty, and (b) as
a kind of reference for some maintenance work I am doing on some legacy
software. With little prospect of getting this published, and without using it
as an exercise subject to brush up my LaTeX skills I would likely not have
bothered writing this paper had it not been for providing a venue.

It might well have ended up in form of a wiki page of my Github repo but
nowhere near with as much thoroughness and rigor and not anywhere
near as polished.

At the end of the day, it is the work you do and the quality of that work
which will determine how people judge your abilities, not the name dropping
of magazines and publishers in your CV.

And prolific producers are also generally more valued than one-hit rock-stars.


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