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.