Much is made of the “fact” that scientific publishing is broken, and to be honest, I have a lot of sympathy with these ideas. However, I don’t really have a problem with those that disagree with me – life is full of people with different opinions, and there is nothing wrong at all with two people who disagree. I think they’re wrong and they thing I’m wrong. There is a certain nobility to holding your position clear and sticking to it.
What I do have a problem with is people who reap the rewards of a system throughout their career, and then at the end, when they are rich, fat and happy, turn around and tell me that the system is broken and that I need to fix it.
Step forward Randy Schekman, the Nobel prize winner who has just declared a boycott of the top science journals Nature, Science and Cell. However, as Noah Gray pointed out on Twitter, Randy has an exceptional track record of publishing in these journals:
Dr. Schekman’s previous publications in Nature, Science and Cell: http://t.co/4BP2wdACO0]
— Noah Gray (@noahWG) December 9, 2013
A quick glance indicates 46 such publications, including a Science paper published in May of this year.
I wrote a blog post recently called “We didn’t ask for it”, and in case you missed the subtle nuance (!) of the post, what I was trying to say is that if you’re an established scientist, a tenured professor with hundreds of peer-reviewed papers behind you, and especially if you’re a man, you don’t get to tell people like me that the system is broken, because you’re the one who broke it!!!
Bear in mind that Randy is already part of the generation who burned all the fossil fuels, created the hole in the ozone layer, oversaw the destruction of rain forests and the loss of countless species, overfished the seas, sent countless pieces of junk into space, wrecked the global economy and got rich off the housing market, then (mostly) retired in their 50s, and you might begin to understand a simmering anger in the younger generation(s) when people who in powerful positions tell us that things are broken and need to be fixed.
Here’s the thing – the younger generation are going to fix things, because we have to, and you don’t get to take any of the *!&%-ing credit Randy!