Archive for commercial editor

severe testing or severe sabotage? [not a book review]

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2018 by xi'an

Last week, I received this new book of Deborah Mayo, which I was looking forward reading and annotating!, but thrice alas, the book had been sabotaged: except for the preface and acknowledgements, the entire book is printed upside down [a minor issue since the entire book is concerned] and with some part of the text cut on each side [a few letters each time but enough to make reading a chore!]. I am thus waiting for a tested copy of the book to start reading it in earnest!

 

barbed WIREs

Posted in Books, Kids, University life with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2018 by xi'an


Maybe childishly, I am fairly unhappy with the way the submission of our Accelerating MCMC review was handled by WIREs Computational Statistics, i.e., Wiley, at the production stage. For some reason, or another, I sent the wrong bibTeX file with my LaTeX document [created using the style file imposed by WIREs]. Rather than pointing out the numerous missing entries, the production staff started working on the paper and sent us a proof with an endless list of queries related to these missing references. When I sent back the corrected LaTeX and bibTeX files, it answered back that it was too late to modify the files as it would “require re-work of [the] already processed paper which is also not a standard process for the journal”. Meaning in clearer terms that Wiley does not want to pay any additional time spent on this paper and that I have to provide from my own “free” time to make up for this mess…

Journal of Statistical Distributions and Applications

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , on April 18, 2013 by xi'an

I just got an email about a

*Springer* on a new *peer-reviewed, open access journal*

whose sole aim seems to generate more revenue for Springer. Indeed, papers published in this journal are charged $1025 each. Which is about the cost for a single subscription to the overpriced if scientifically excellent Statistics and Computing. (It takes a serious effort to discover the subscription rate of a Springer journal on their website!)

Indeed, I am quite surprised at a journal focussing on statistical distributions. What is a statistical distribution, exactly? The era when one would discover a new probability distribution in connection with a statistical estimation or testing problem and call it t, F, or Beta, seems long long gone! Just as gone as the production of statistical tables.  (This is also why I wrote such a negative review of The Handbook of Fitting Distributions.) The webpage of the journal indicates that

The scopes include, but are not limited to, development and study of statistical distributions, frequentist and Bayesian statistical inference including goodness-of-fit tests, statistical modeling, computational/simulation methods, and data analysis related to statistical distributions. Significant and well-written articles on theory and methods in areas of statistical distributions and their applications will be considered for publication.

but this sounds so broad as to cover almost any statistical paper. So I am wondering at the purpose of this journal, except as an experimentation in “open access” commercial journals that are fully supported by the authors, in essence making grants pay twice for research.

‘gold’ open access & gold mine for publishers

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by xi'an

Following a discussion within the IMS publication committee and the coincidental publication of a central double page in Le Monde, weekend science&techno section [not that it was particularly informative!], here are some thoughts of mine on open access and publications:

First, the EU is philosophically inclined toward Open Access and has been putting some money into the game towards that goal:

As of 2014, all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible: articles will

either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (‘Gold’ open access) – up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission;

or researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (‘Green’ open access).

This means that putting IMS publications on arXiv or on HAL (which is compulsory for CNRS and AERES evaluations, hence for most French public researchers, contrary to what Le Monde states) is fine and sufficient for EU funded research. It seems to be the same in other countries (ok, EU is not yet a country!) like Australia…

My personnal position on the issue is that I do not understand the ‘gold’ open access perspective. Since tax-payers are supporting public-funded research, why should they support the journals that publish this research if it is available on a public depository like arXiv for free? Simply because the publication in the journals gives a validation of the scientific contents? The argument was that it would save money on public libraries subscribing to expensive journals like Elsevier‘s, but paying the ‘gold’ open access is another way of redirecting tax-payers money towards publishers’ pockets, so this sounds like a loophole… I would thus be very much in favour of keeping the arXiv solution as is, since it is the greenest one, as long as we comply with local national regulations.

spam

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by xi'an

Another focussed spam in the mail:

Dear Dr. Christian P. Robert,

How are you?

I read your interesting article of “Error and inference: an outsider stand on a frequentist philosophy“, and I know you are an active professional in this field.

Now, I am writing you to call for new papers, on behalf of Review of Economics & Finance, which is an English quarterly journal in Canada.

This journal is currently indexed by EconLit of American Economic Association (AEA), EBSCO, RePEc, National Bibliography of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, DOAJ, Ulrich, and so on.

The publication fee is CAD$450, if your paper is qualified for publication after refereeing. The submission fee of $50 is NOT applied to you by March 6th, 2013.

Thank you for your consideration. Have a rewarding month!

At least, they are quite honest about the cost of publishing there. But they should check on which paper they pick rather than using a robot that takes a paper not talking about economics or finance… (And why on Earth this line about the rewarding month?!)

down with referees, up with ???

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by xi'an

Statisfaction made me realise I had missed the latest ISBA Bulletin when I read what Julyan posted about Larry’s tribune on a World without referees. While I agree on many of Larry’s points, first and foremost on his criticisms of the refereeing process which seems to worsen and worsen, here are a few items of dissension…

The argument that the system is 350 years old and thus must be replaced may be ok at the rethoretical level, but does not carry any serious weight! First, what is the right scale for a change: 100 years?! 200 years?! Should I burn down my great-grand-mother’s house because it is from the 1800’s and buy a camping-car instead?! Should I smash my 1690 Stradivarius and buy a Fender Stratocaster?! Further, given the intensity and the often under-the-belt level of the Newton vs. Leibniz dispute, maybe refereeing and publishing in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society should have been abolished right away from the start. Anyway, this is about rethoric, not matter. (Same thing about the wine store ellipse. It is not even a good one:  Indeed, when I go to a wine store, I have to rely on (a) well-known brands; (b) brands I have already tried and appreciated; (c) someone else’s advice, like the owner, or friends, or Robert Parker…. In the former case, it can prove great or disastrous. But this is the most usual way to pick wines as one cannot hope [dream?] to sample all wines in the shop.)

My main issue with doing away with referees is the problem of sifting through the chaff. The amount of research documents published everyday is overwhelming. There is a maximal amount of time I can dedicate to looking at websites, blogs, twitter accounts like Scott Sisson’s and Richard Everitt’s, and such. And there clearly is a limited amount of trust I put in the opinions expressed in a blog (e.g., take the ‘Og where this anonymous X’racter writes about everything, mostly non-scientific stuff, and reviews papers with a definite bias!) Even keeping track of new arXiv postings sometimes get overwhelming. So, Larry’s “if you don’t check arXiv for new papers every day, then you are really missing out” means to me that missing arXiv for a few days and I cannot recover. One week away at an intense workshop or on vacations and I am letting some papers going by forever, even though I carry them in my bag for a while…. Noll’s suggestion to publish only on one’s own website is even more unrealistic: why should anyone bother to comment on poor or wrong papers, except when looking for ‘Og’s fodder?! So the fundamental problem is separating the wheat from the chaff, given the amount of chaff and the connected tendency to choke on it! Getting rid of referees and journals to rely on depositories like [the great, terrific, essential] arXiv forces me to also rely on other sources for ranking, selecting, and eliminating papers. Again with a component of arbitrariness, subjectivity, bias, variation, randomness, peer pressure, &tc. In addition, having no prior check of papers means reading a new paper a tremendous chore as one would have to check the references as well, leading to a sort of infinite regress… and forcing one to rely on reputation and peer opinions, once again! And imagine the inflation in reference letters! I already feel I have to write too many reference letters at the moment, but a world without (good and bad) journals would be the Hell of non-stop reference letters. I definitely prefer to referee (except for Elsevier!) and even more being a journal editor, because I can get an idea of the themes in the field and sometimes spot new trends, rather than writing over and over again about an old friend’s research achievements or having to assess from scratch the worth of a younger colleague’s work…

Furthermore, and this is a more general issue, I do not believe that the multiplication of blogs, websites, opinion posts, tribunes, &tc., is necessarily a “much more open, democratic approach”: everyone voicing an opinion on the Internet does not always get listened to and the loudest ones (or most popular ones) are not always the most reliable ones. A complete egalitarian principle means everyone talks/writes and no one listens/reads: I’d rather stick to the principles set by the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society!

Anyway, thanks to Larry for launching a worthwhile debate into discovering new ways of making academia a more rational and scientific place!