The blog on the commodification of scientific publishing, posted earlier in December, has received lots of interest from many concerned academics. Some people responded to the blog (see under ‘replies’ at the end of the post), some contacted me by email and several people offered alternatives to the current system that seems to invite strategic behavior, a focus on ‘production’ (number of papers published) and efficiency (short turn-around), rather than on quality that is supported by a critical review system. One of the responses to the blog came from MDPI’s – the publisher of the journal Sustainability that is featured in the post – CEO Frank Vazquez. I am posting his elaborate response after the key messages from the blog. I do appreciate that he took the time to do this.
Note the blog post on this can be found here: Update – Publish AND perish: how the commodification of scientific publishing is undermining both science and the public good
“Everybody is writing, nobody is reading, everybody is writing for nobody.”
- Academics are spending hundreds of hours a year, getting their work published, in peer-reviewed journals, providing free labor to commercial publishing companies.
- The pressure to ‘produce’ and grow is huge, both in academia and in the publishing industry; this undermines quality and the university’s ability to serve the public good and, indeed, public trust in science.
- Open access journal Sustainability publishes over 4000 contributions in its current Volume 10 – where most contributors will have to pay 1400 US Dollars* to have their work published. Its publisher MDPI has close to 200 journals working in a similar vein.’
- Sustainability has 561 associate-editors from mostly public universities all working for free for the journal.
- Of all industries, the publishing industry has the highest profit margin according to a recent article in the New Scientist.
- A transition in science is needed to restore quality, trust and a culture of co-learning, peer-to-peer feedback and dialogue, and to unlock the the power of science in creating more sustainable world.
* Sustainability just announced that the fee for having an article published in 2019 has been raised to 1700 US dollars…
Here you find the respons of MDPI’s CEO Frank Vazquez – without comment. Should you have a comment of your own, feel free to reply.