After 24 years, when will academic culture finally shift? | bjoern.brembs.blog
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-05-26
"It’s now been 24 years since Stevan Harnad sparked the open access movement by suggesting in his “subversive proposal” in 1994 that scholars ought to just publish their scholarly articles on the internet: If every esoteric author in the world this very day established a globally accessible local ftp archive for every piece of esoteric writing he did from this day forward, the long-heralded transition from paper publication to purely electronic publication (of esoteric research) would follow suit almost immediately. Since then, we have been waiting on the behavior of scholars to change, such that all our works indeed become accessible. This is what has become known as the “culture shift” in academia, without which no actual change in our practice can happen. However, no such change can be seen, not even after all these years. Instead, open access mandates and other policies have been developed to force scholars to perform certain behaviors they wouldn’t otherwise do. Even in fields where such deposition of articles has become common, the authors still adhere to toll-access publishing not for reading or scholarly communication, but for career advancement – an obscenely expensive and perverse outsourcing practice. Why does such behavioral change take so long? Many of Stevan’s colleagues at the time have since retired and a large section of the scholarly workforce has been replaced with a new generation, one would think – if anything – more net-affine than the previous one? In this post, I will try to make the argument that our mistake was to expect behavior to change when the reasons for the behavior have not changed. As a behavioral neuroscientist, I have learned that, all else being equal and depending on time-scales, among the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior. Thus, if we analyze why scholars behave the way they do with regards to open scholarship, we may be more likely to affect that behavior. Why isn’t everybody using preprint servers? What keeps people from posting their data and code on any of the proliferating repositories? What is the reason, funders feel they need to use mandates to get scholars to comply with open science ideals? Why are the non-activist, regular scholars either lethargic or outright hostile?..."