Report: “Why are AI Researchers Boycotting a New Nature Journal—and Shunning Others?”
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.
The purpose of the boycott is “to lower the barriers to research progress” for resource-strapped scientists, says Thomas Dietterich, a computer scientist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, who began the boycott last month.
Paul Ginsparg, a physicist at Cornell University and founder of the preprint repository arXiv, where computer scientists often publish, applauds what he calls “a principled stand.” But, he adds, “I personally have no animus towards the subscription model.” And he thinks the petition signers may have unrealistic hopes for zero-cost journals. Servers are cheap, but “systematic quality control is labor-intensive, and that costs real money.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.