Archive for The Cost of Knowledge

new Elsevier journal!

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , on May 11, 2012 by xi'an

Elsevier is launching a new journal called Spatial Statistics, whose goal is…

“…to be the leading journal in the field of spatial statistics. It publishes articles at the highest scientific level concerning important and timely developments in the theory and applications of spatial and spatio-temporal statistics. It favors manuscripts that present theory generated by new applications, or where new theory is applied to an important spatial problem.”

Given the Elsevier tradition of charging absurd amounts for journals, this journal is “only” 475 euros / USD 662 for libraries and institutions. (Which is actually a lot for a new journal with no credential. And does not mean much given the “bundling” strategy of Elsevier.) And there are caveats, like the unbelievable fee of $3,000 for Open Source publishing (“excludes taxes and other potential author fees”…) and the prohibition to post the final version of one’s paper on arXiv. (what the journal turns into a beautifully newspeak “right”: “the right to post a pre-print version of the journal article on Internet websites“). Hence, as much as I appreciate the idea of dedicating a journal to the many issues pertaining to the specific area of spatial statistics, I stick with my support of The Cost of Knowledge pledge “not to submit a paper to an Elsevier journal, not to referee for an Elsevier journal, not to join an editorial board of an Elsevier journal“. (Elsevier has recently responded to this boycott call by making minor proposals analysed in depth by Tim Gowers.)

Bayesian computing, methods and applications (and Elsevier)

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2012 by xi'an

I received an email this weekend calling for submissions to a special issue of Computational Statistics and Data Analysis on the special topic Bayesian computing, methods and applications, edited by Cathy Chen, David Dunson, Sylvia Frühwirth-Schnatter, and Stephen Walker.   The theme is

The last two decades have seen an explosion in the popularity and use of Bayesian methods, largely as a result of the advances in sampling based approaches to inference. At the same time, important advances and developments in methodology have coincided with highly sophisticated breakthroughs in computational techniques. Consequently, practitioners are increasingly turning to Bayesian methods so as to effectively tackle more complex and realistic models and problems, particularly as richer sources of data continue to become available. The primary aim of the issue is to illustrate and showcase recent advances in Bayesian computation and inferential methods, as well as highlight their application to empirical problems in a broad range of areas, including econometrics, biology, finance and medicine, amongst many others. Methodological contributions that highlight recent developments in Bayesian computing are strongly encouraged.

The papers should have a computational or advanced data analytic component in order to be considered for publication. Authors who are uncertain about the suitability of their papers should contact the special issue editors. All submissions must contain original unpublished work not being considered for publication elsewhere. Submissions will be refereed according to standard procedures for Computational Statistics and Data Analysis. The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2012.

Unfortunately, this journal is published by Elsevier, the costly much too costly publisher [Computational Statistics and Data Analysis costs for instance 2,763 euros per year for institutions and libraries!, Journal of Multivariate Analysis is 2,704 euros…] and, since I am completely in agreement with the position, I have signed the Cost of Knowledge pledge a few weeks ago [although I do not yet appear on the list], meaning I now abstain from supporting the extremely unbalanced business model of Elsevier though publishing, reviewing, or (a)editing in one of the journals it publishes. (Which means I refuse referring on this sole ground about once a week now.) Even though Elsevier published a letter to mathematicians a few weeks ago, I however doubt they can modify their business model so drastically as to get down to average prices for their journals. Unless the pressure from the community is so committed and shared that the flow of submissions dries out, which I doubt will occur on a short time-scale. (The impact of a reduced submission pool on citation indices and impact factors is on another scale…) Jean-Michel pointed me to this arXiv report [to appear in Notices of the American Mathematical Society] by Douglas Arnold and Henry Cohn on the Cost of Knowledge boycott (analysed by mathematicians, not statisticians). It seems that the boycott has not impacted as much the statisticians’ community, judging from the number of signatures registered so far.

As a coincidence, I read today in the Guardian that the Wellcome Trust is pulling its weight in support of open source publishing, threatening to withdraw funding from researchers who do not “ensure that results are freely available to the public within six months of first publication”. Elsevier’s statement is not encouraging, though: “we will also remain committed to the subscription model. We want to be able to offer our customers choice, and we see that, in addition to new models the subscription model remains very much in demand.” (I do not see the connection between high subscription rates and choice, nor a proof that anyone demands high subscription rates!) Another coincidence is that I also got an email about The Open Statistics & Probability Journal, which is a free, peer reviewed, on-line journal. Which shows that some companies have found a way to manage a business model that is compatible with open access, if not a good solution in my opinion: just charge the authors $400 per published paper…

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