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Imminent Changes In The Publication Process In Sciences.

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‘In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.’ – Galileo Galilei

The present system of dissemination of research is primarily based upon publication in ‘peer reviewed’ journals. While the journals themselves stand to gain profit from the research done by scientists, the hapless researcher can think of only one gain, i.e., being published in a ‘peer reviewed’ ‘prestigious journal’. In today’s world, many such ‘prestigious’ journals even demand money from the researchers for publishing their work. The much debated ‘peer review’ that such journals ensure primarily include the opinions only a few ‘know-it-alls’. While much trash pass through this ‘very efficient’ system, many great works are ridiculed. Journals lose so much of their funds maintaining such a process.

However, the journals did once serve their purpose. The journal-system once used to be one of the best forms of dissemination of research, before it hit the stone-wall of scientific elitism driven almost entirely by profit-making forces. This system of publication is obsolete (to put it very mildly) and its replacement by more efficient systems is long overdue. In today’s information-driven world there can be no place for any false sense of intellectual aristocracy. Advent of the Internet and cloud-based storage, which allows  peers to look easily into each other’s work, has made the logic behind continuing with the  medieval system of ‘peer review’ even more ineffectual.

Discussing with an open mind, what purpose do the journals serve now except serving commercial interests of a select few? A free storage service like the arXiv should be enough for disseminating research. While this particular storage has turned elitist over time, new ones like figshare have many added features to make the work of the scientific community easier. Figshare makes good use of cloud based storage and it allows all forms of research to be published. A peer review by the whole scientific community is always better than that done by a chosen few. The journals can still survive ‘scavenging’ for their favoured research works that are already published in Open Science data-repositories. They can choose works from such repositories and re-publish them if they wish to, giving due credit. However, dissemination of research in a place like figshare should be enough for the researcher in terms of publication and credit. A progressive involvement of the community of scientists, as a whole, is required for providing these new systems the much needed impetus.”

-Subhajit Ganguly.

What this platform aims at is becoming a proper and successful ‘Scavenging’ platform, publishing chosen research content. Researchers can contact us directly too with their content for our approval.

Relation Between Medieval Renaissance and Today’s Open Knowledge Dissemination

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Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

Relation Between Medieval Renaissance and Today’s Open Knowledge Dissemination

The advent of the printing press helped a lot in the democratization of knowledge and research in Medieval Europe. The arrival of the movable type printing press introduced the era of true mass communication in the western world and this, in turn, altered the fabric of the society forever. It transformed people’s lives by changing their relationship to information and knowledge. It also transformed their relationship with existing authority. It created a new breed of free thinkers, who ultimately dislodged the Dark Ages and brought about the Modern Era. Involving the ‘general public’ and saving knowledge from the hands of a select few brought about a positive change in the human society. Print created the possibility of wide and rapid circulation of ideas. This opened up a new free world where ideas could be debated and discussed. Thus the foundation of the modern scientific fervour was laid.

Print brought the ideas of thinkers,philosophers and scientists closer to the common man and made new ideas more accessible. It is a matter of debate how thinkers, like Issac Newton, could influence the thinking of the society without access to print. It would be superfluous to mention how true scientific debate started only after the invention of the printing press. The writings of thinkers outside the central sphere of science (like Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau, etc.) too went a long way in shaping the world as we know it today.

However, in their time, the firsts printing presses were mostly viewed with skepticism. Barring a handful, most influential people opposed it. The ‘holier than thou’ expressed their fears that the world would come to and end if they let the common people use print. Even those, who welcomed the print, were apprehensive of the ‘ill’ effects that wider circulation of ideas through print could have on the world. Rulers and religious heads feared that if they did not control the printed material, their authority would vastly diminish. They wanted to have total control over what was to be printed.

In the words of Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer, ‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and one there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even in good things, satiety is most harmful…(printers) fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books, and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’

Erasmus’s fear pretty much sums up the apprehensions of today’s ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘printing powerhouses’. In todays world too, the Internet has brought about a transformation of the society. This is a tool that can be used for free dissemination of knowledge and of research. However, a few people even today tend to believe that free dissemination of research (that results in free and fair debates and discussions of the works) would bring about a ‘end of the world’ situation for science. They are of the opinion that they ought to have as much control as possible over the dissemination of research works in order to keep the flag of science flying. These handful of people have the audacity to believe that they must be the ‘chosen ones’ to boss over the whole of the scientific community. These are the people who oppose Open Science and Open Knowledge movements.

Time has shown us how zero control by a handful of individuals over the society and complete control of the community, as a whole, over itself brings about positive changes. Less the control by individuals or groups and more the control of the complete set of individuals, more is the positive change. The history of the printing press is a case in point. While history made a mockery of the control-freaks, it proved right the few individuals, who believed in the intellectual capacity of the masses. Intellectual Nazism should be a thing of the past and we should move away from such self-defeating practices.

As more and more researchers embrace Open practices, irrespective of the influence of any kind of authority and affiliations, a new free world of debate and discussions will truly open up.

Positive movements like the Figshare Open Science Platform have shown us how researchers can jump over all traditional deterrents and contribute positively towards the development of the scientific community, as a whole. Dissemination of research in such a place should be enough in terms of publication of research. The whole community of researchers will deliberate over these published works and not just a select few. This will take scientific dialogue forward in the true sense. As printed books replaced handwritten manuscripts, so will such Open platforms of knowledge dissemination eventually replace other non-Open pathways of dispersing knowledge.

http://figshare.com/articles/Relation_Between_Medieval_Renaissance_and_Today_s_Open_Knowledge_Dissemination/729275

Time has shown us how zero control by a handful of individuals over the society and complete control of the community, as a whole, over itself brings about positive changes. Less the control by individuals or groups and more the control of the complete set of individuals, more is the positive change. The history of the printing press is a case in point. While history made a mockery of the control-freaks, it proved right the few individuals, who believed in the intellectual capacity of the masses. Intellectual Nazism should be a thing of the past and we should move away from such self-defeating practices.

As more and more researchers embrace Open practices, irrespective of the influence of any kind of authority and affiliations, a new free world of debate and discussions will truly open up.

In the words of Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer, ‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and one there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even in good things, satiety is most harmful…(printers) fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books, and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’

Erasmus’s fear pretty much sums up the apprehensions of today’s ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘printing powerhouses’. In todays world too, the Internet has brought about a transformation of the society. This is a tool that can be used for free dissemination of knowledge and of research. However, a few people even today tend to believe that free dissemination of research (that results in free and fair debates and discussions of the works) would bring about a ‘end of the world’ situation for science. They are of the opinion that they ought to have as much control as possible over the dissemination of research works in order to keep the flag of science flying. These handful of people have the audacity to believe that they must be the ‘chosen ones’ to boss over the whole of the scientific community. These are the people who oppose Open Science and Open Knowledge movements.

We support various Open Movements, including:

https://i1.wp.com/www.lapsi-project.eu/lapsifiles/logo_0.jpg           https://i0.wp.com/www.digital-science.com/system/images/W1siZiIsIjIwMTIvMDUvMDkvMTcvMDYvNTcvNjYwL3Byb2R1Y3RfZmlnc2hhcmVfbWVkaXVtLnBuZyJdXQ/product-figshare-medium.png        https://i0.wp.com/api.ning.com/files/*fakKZKfhcxS7NSCJewlM5b4hoPxuQ-4XprPLntDnWqPyhs6-2AHMRpvnbQftDip0CKFSPdlZnAqWwkY5a846dM8PC8rAkWM/OAIndiaLogoVKK.jpg

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