Friday, September 07, 2007

Double-charging your readers: quite unacceptable indeed

Peter has been doing an excellent job in advocating ODOSOS, and one of his posts even hit Slashdot.

Meanwhile, blogspace has been flooded with dislike of the PRISM intiative (e.g. see also the other Peter's blog). The website is so sad, it is almost funny again; but on second thought, it is so sad, you wonder the world will end because of WOIII or because of a total halt of scientific progress. It's so sad, it is hard to decide between the real webpage and this parody which is the fake one.

Wiley seems to be the king of commercial exploitation. While the sue over 6 data points seemed to be an incident, they now try to get their reading public pay twice for published material: once for reading the paper (well, if you exclude incidental, oh-I-m-sorry-our-IT-department-messed-up attempts to have readers pay for open access papers; or was that another publisher?), and once for accessing the data (spectra) in that paper.

I am likely a bit too harsh on Wiley here. They do and have done an excellent job on dissemination of scientific knowledge. I just think that it would suit them well to allow taking advantage of current ICT/chemoinformatics technologies to improve the advance of science; I would say that should be a goal of a scientific publisher. Instead, they do not give explicit permission to reuse data from their publications, unless it involves the commercial exploitation of that database. Sure, curation is expensive, but chemoinformatics has advanced, and *very much* can be done with an uncurated database. There are enough people interested in setting up free databases, without that costing Wiley a penny. Why not allow that? Wiley is surely aware of this interest, so it is there turn now to act.