A response to the OA sting from Michael Eisen

Michael Eisen wrote the following blog postimagesCABNNBCO with respect to the recent “sting operation” carried out by John Bohanon wherein he submitted a “faked” paper to a number of OA publisher that readily accepted the paper for publication.

I quote from Eisen’s blog post in part:

While some fringe OA publishers are playing a short con, subscription publishers are seasoned grifters playing a long con. They fleece the research community of billions of dollars every year by convincing them of something manifestly false – that their journals and their “peer review” process are an essential part of science, and that we need them to filter out the good science – and the good scientists – from the bad. Like all good grifters playing the long con, they get us to believe they are doing something good for us – something we need. They pocket our billions, with elegant sleight of hand, then get us to ignore the fact that crappy papers routinely get into high-profile journals simply because they deal with sexy topics.

But unlike the fly-by-night OA publishers who steal a little bit of money, the subscription publishers’ long con has far more serious consequences. Not only do they traffic in billions rather than thousands of dollars and deny the vast majority of people on Earth access to the findings of publicly funded research, the impact and glamour they sell us to make us willing participants in their grift has serious consequences. Every time they publish because it is sexy, and not because it is right, science is distorted. It distorts research. It distorts funding. And it often distorts public policy.

I think Eisen makes a good point here – much like the debate as to whether individual or corporate welfare costs more – by far corporate welfare would be the correct answer – why are you complaining about someone buying cigarrettes with their EBT card when Wall Street and Company just walked off with a few billion in tax payer dollars.  It will be interesting to see what results we see down the road.

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