Publishers’ Unnecessary Services

Mike Eisen writes:

?I believe we should get rid of publishers? the services they provide are either easy to replicate (formatting articles to look pretty) or they currently do extremely poorly (peer review)? these services are unnecessary? [we should] move to a system where you post things when you want to post them, and that people comment/rate/annotate articles as they read them post publication.?

1. PLOS (like other publishers) seems to be charging a hefty price for ?services that are unnecessary.? ;>)

2. I agree completely that we should get rid of publishers’ unnecessary services and their costs. But how to do that, while they are still controlled by publishers and bundled into subscriptions in exchange for access?

My answer is the one Mike calls ?parasitic?: Institutions and funders worldwide mandate Green OA (with the ?copy-request? Button to circumvent publisher OA embargoes). The cancellations that that will make possible will force publishers to drop the unnecessary services and their costs and downsize to Fair-Gold for peer review alone..

3. But I disagree with Mike about peer-review: it will remain the sole essential service. And the (oft-voiced) notion that peer-review can be replaced by crowd-sourcing, after ?publication? is pure speculation, supported by no evidence that it can ensure quality at least as well as classical peer review, nor that is it scalable and sustainable.