Zoran Skoda
subtracted value

Commercial scientific publishers are bitching that their journals added value to the papers as opposed to the preprint versions. The talk typpesetting, UNIFORMITY of formatting (really: what for ?? One is usually picking one article per the time, and the next article to read will be usually in another journal), especially in reference and font formatting, color pictures, grammatical proofreading, advertising etc.

While it is sometimes true, most treatments of the discussion about the need for commercial scientific journal publishing, even the magna charta of the recent The Cost of Knowledge action contra Elsevier’s practices, neglect the subtracted value of the papers subtracted by the journals in the process.

For example

  • many journals ask for a short format of references, thus imposing the stripping off the title, MR number or the full reference information in general
  • many journals ask to omit the arxiv number for the commercially published papers: if the paper has published version it is written as the only version
  • many journals require adding some irrelevant information because they like it: for example requiring that one writes not only Cambridge University Press, but Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. This can be considered better for some purposes, but isn’t the author the one who is truly interested on balancing which presentation to offer as optimal for his targetted audience; isn’t he the most informed about his audience and its needs ? Is instead more concerned the money-blinded and money-blooded publisher, which bundles insistantly for instance Chaos, solitons and fractals in their diet package for a library sale ? In ordinary life this is called bullying.
  • very often the journal size limitations or preference force people to shorten writing, often making it hard to comprehend, with omitted large parts of the created material
  • very often the journal’s proofreaders introduce new errors in the final stage of the process, like spelling errors in names, changes in language which change the meaning, formula errors, and so on, without author’s chance to approve or overwrite the change

I know of hundreds of such cases reported by colleagues.

While in mathematics it is not so much of a concern, in some other sciences, the publishers sometimes ban on posting the preprint version on the web page, either before or after the publication acceptance, or ever. For example, papers considered by journals like Science and Nature can not be available anywhere, any news on the result publicly available beforehand automatically leads to a rejection and maybe more serious charges. Another aspect is that some journals offer the following policy: they offer expensive preediting service. In other words, before the paper goes to the referees they will lift its cosmetics, color pictrues and so on up. One pays for the service, pays for the colors, and so on. If your paper comes with hi colors and was pre-lifted it will received favorable status by the editorial and it will be easier to get accepted. If you insist not to retouche before the decision, or not to add color page with color page charges at all, you are likely not to get friendly treatment, possibly you can be rejected before contacting the expert referees.

Created on February 11, 2012 at 19:35:53. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.