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AI pros boycott new Nature AI journal. Why?

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Artificial Intelligence, Hal 9000 Computer From Matthew Hutson at Science:

Computer science was born of a rebellious, hacker culture, a spirit that lives on in the publishing culture of artificial intelligence (AI). The burgeoning field is increasingly turning to conference publications and free, open-review websites while shunning traditional outlets—sentiments dramatically expressed in a growing boycott of a high-profile AI journal. As of 15 May, about 3000 people, mostly academic computer scientists, had signed a petition promising not to submit, review, or edit articles for Nature Machine Intelligence (NMI), a new journal from the publisher Springer Nature set to begin publication in January 2019.

The petition, signed by many prominent researchers in AI, is more than just a call for open access. It decries not only closed-access, subscription-based journals such as NMI, but also author-fee publications: open-access journals that are free to read but require researchers to pay to publish. Instead the signatories call for more “zero-cost” open-access journals. More.

AI, they say, moves too fast for the clay-brick feet of traditional publishing.

Besides, there is the fairness issue. From Mike James at I, Programmer:

The current situation with academic publishing is archaic to say the least. Once upon a time, the establishment of journals for publishing important work in the sciences was a vital service and the companies that did it charged a reasonable amount for their services. Today it really isn’t the task that it once was and academic publishers are making profits from publicly funded research and restricting access to what should be freely available. In the main, they don’t pay for the peer review, do very little editing, and often don’t have to make a substantial investment to produce paper copies of the journal. Yet they feel entitled to charge $20 or $30 or more for access to papers stored on the web, usually as pdfs.More.

The fees and charges they are rebelling against are all the more outrageous when we consider that the public pays for a great deal of the science published. On one occasion, I would have had to pay Nature more for a review of a book I wanted to hear more about than I would have had to pay the publisher for the book. That’s like paying more for a restaurant review than for a dinner there. This must change. O’Leary for News

See also: Henry Kissinger: The End of the Enlightenment dawns, due to artificial intelligence. Well, Henry, the end of something may be dawning but maybe not of the Enlightenment. Maybe just of pricing based on the pre-digital age. Trust AI pros to be the ones to tumble to that soonest.

One Reply to “AI pros boycott new Nature AI journal. Why?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “AI pros boycott new Nature AI journal.”

    Good for them!

    Besides the paying for something that ought to be free scam,.
    Frank Tipler states that now-a-days “the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy.”

    Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy? – Frank J. Tipler – 2003
    Excerpt: prior to the Second World War the refereeing process, even where it existed, had very little effect on the publication of novel ideas, at least in the field of physics. But in the last several decades, many outstanding scientists have complained that their best ideas—the very ideas that brought them fame—were rejected by the refereed journals. Thus, prior to the Second World War, the refereeing process worked primarily to eliminate crackpot papers. Today, the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy.

    I’m sure AI researchers are a fairly unorthodox group of people. 🙂

    Casey Luskin also has a fairly in-depth article on the subject of the ‘enforced orthodoxy’ of peer review.

    Intelligent Design Is Peer-Reviewed, but Is Peer-Review a Requirement of Good Science? – Casey Luskin – February 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as “Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers,” and in fact “Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize.”3 In an amusing letter titled “Not in our Nature,” Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:,,,
    Elsewhere, Campanario lists “instances in which 36 future Nobel Laureates encountered resistance on the part of scientific journal editors or referees to manuscripts that dealt with discoveries that on later dates would assure them the Nobel Prize.”5 Likewise, Tulane University physicist Frank Tipler offers the following anecdotes:
    “Another example is Günter Blobel, who in a news conference given just after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, said that the main problem one encounters in one’s research is ‘when your grants and papers are rejected because some stupid reviewer rejected them for dogmatic adherence to old ideas.’ According to the New York Times, these comments ‘drew thunderous applause from the hundreds of sympathetic colleagues and younger scientists in the auditorium.’”

    As well, Matti Leisola, an ID proponent who has about 140 peer-reviewed papers under his belt, states on page 135 of his recent book “Heretic” that “the more groundbreaking the science I did, the harder it became to get the work accepted (for peer review).”

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