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The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166 166

ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"
Books

Submission + - How Will E-Reading Change Us? ->

ambermichelle writes: If 2011 was the year of the tablet, with the triumph of Apple’s iPad 2 and the more measured success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, it was also the year the print books had their spines ripped out. Chain bookseller Borders filed for bankruptcy while vultures circled Barnes & Noble (which nevertheless survived). As we rush headlong into the e-reading future, Norwegian researcher Anne Mangen has been asking, “How does digital technology change the way we read?”

Mangen is a favorite researcher of digital skeptics such as Nicholas Carr. Her research has found that reading on screens has taught us how to skim texts effectively but we may find it increasingly difficult to focus on difficult tasks. What does this mean for how we educate children? Will the shift to e-books make us forget how to read printed books?

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Comment Re:Uneven laws (Score 2, Interesting) 304 304

I'd suggest you read Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions to see that science appears to work very differently than you (and many others) think. Scientist tend to prevent any substantial change in their paradigm as long as possible---for example by "tweaking" theories or devising auxiliary hypotheses.

Comment Re:embrace their physicality? (Score 1) 143 143

You make some good points. Digital technology absolutely makes it easier to design books. No doubt about that. The problem with digital publishing is that (at the moment) you have limited control (even with pdf) over how the reader will see your 'book'.

The format of a book, the font, binding and paper should ideally complement the content—that's pretty hard to do if you read all your books on one e-reader. Now, don't get me wrong, nice books have always been a niche product and will remain so. I have no problem with that and many (maybe most) texts will be fine in electronic form. I just wanted to explain that there are some aspect of paper books that can't be replicated in e-readers.

Comment Re:embrace their physicality? (Score 1) 143 143

Proper typography, book design, binding, nice paper, interesting format, etc. can make a book into a work of art. Unfortunately most books produced these days are anything but that. For a good example of great book design look at Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style or Edward Tufte's books. I doubt their electronic versions would be anywhere as beautiful.

Comment Re:An Application? (Score 1) 264 264

As an Anonymous Coward mentioned down below, the chemistry of oxidising pyrimidine to uracil is utterly trivial. No chemist would be even slightly surprised that it happens after illumination by UV light. This brings us no closer to understanding the origins of life than we were 100 years ago.
Education

Submission + - Copyright Reduces Access to Education in Argentina->

langelgjm writes: An Argentinean philosophy professor is being sued for alleged copyright infringement for posting translated versions of French philosopher Jacques Derrida's works on a website. In an attempt to make foreign philosophers' work available to Spanish language readers and students, Prof. Horacio Potel has created several websites: one on Nietzsche, another on Heidegger, and one on Derrida (now deactivated), all in Spanish. Philosophy texts are expensive and not widely available in Argentina; most are imported from Spain, and sold only in Buenos Aires.

According to the authorized French publisher, "Horacio Potel has posted, over the course of several years, without authorisation, and free of charge, full versions of several of Jacques Derrida's works, which is harmful to the diffusion of his (Derrida)'s thought." But Potel believes that by removing the works, the publisher has "inflicted a new death on the philosopher by taking his work off the internet." This dispute serves to highlight the larger debate over how copyright affects access to knowledge and educational materials.

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