orgtheory.net

why your asa section should open its paper award

I guess I’m blogging again. I went off on this on Twitter, so thought I might as well throw it up on here too.

At ASA next week, SocArXiv is meeting with nine different sections to talk about the possibility of “opening” section paper awards. What does this mean? We’d like to see ASA sections make posting papers on SocArXiv part of the award nomination process. So if you wanted your paper to be considered for an award, you’d put it on SocArXiv, tag it “OOWScottAward” (or whatever), and that’s it. The rest of the process works the same.

Why is this a good idea? We believe that academic research shouldn’t be paywalled, and that it shouldn’t take years for research to reach an audience. Right now, academia is locked into a publishing system that relies on the labor of academics, paid for by universities, government, and the individuals themselves to make large profits for private companies. It makes universities pay through the nose so academics can read their own work, and makes it even harder for people with no academic affiliation, or an underresourced library, to access. This is not good for sociology or for academia, and it’s just not necessary. Getting the work out there, where colleagues and a broader audience can access it, isn’t that hard.

Many sociologists support greater openness. A fair number post their work on their own websites, or at Academia.edu, or elsewhere. But there is real value in having the work all in one place, and having that be a place that is committed to open science, rather than to monetizing your account.

By linking section awards to open access, ASA sections can help nudge sociology in this direction. Uploading to SocArXiv isn’t hard to do, but there’s an inertia factor to overcome. And since people want to win section awards, section award submissions are a good moment for overcoming it. If your paper is worth considering for an award, it should be worth sharing, and sections can help make this happen.

Making award-nominated papers open isn’t only good for the discipline, though. It’s good for the section, too. Having served on way too many section award committees in the last decade, I know that reading nominated papers is a great way to keep up with what’s going on in a subfield. This is often even more true of grad student submissions, which show you where the field is going. Why not get this great work out there sooner, and let people know the exciting things that are going on in your part of the discipline?

To sweeten the pot, SocArXiv is putting up $400 toward conference travel for the award winner of any “open” section award. We will also provide $250 of support for any individual award winner who uploaded their paper at the time they submitted to a nonparticipating section.

So if you think advancing openness is a good thing, and want to see your ASA sections support it, let them know. And if you have hesitations, bring them up in the comments — some we may be able to address, and we’d like to learn more about concerns we may not have anticipated.

(Curious what’s on SocArXiv? Here’s a few orgtheory relevant papers posted this summer:

Want more details about what SocArXiv is? Click here. Or how award opening works? See this blog post. Or ask in the comments.)

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Written by epopp

August 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

24 Responses

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  1. I’m a big fan of open science and look forward to presenting at the conference in October. I do have a question – I wonder why start with requiring any nomination to be posted, as opposed to the winners of the awards? I think requiring winners to post their paper would have very little push back and would encourage open science. It would also address any concerns people about requiring any nominated paper being submitted. Winners are those who ASA section committees have deemed worthy of an award, and thus should be freely available, at the very least, to membership.

    I also wonder whether any kind of requirement to publish (winning or nominated) work in the archive would mean that SocArxiv should have some kind of official relationship with, or sponsorship from, ASA?

    Like

    Victoria Reyes

    August 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

  2. SocArXiv started the Sociology Open Award Recognition program (SOAR!) to address both the habit problem and the prestige problem (see the description here: https://socopen.org/2017/06/01/why-your-section-of-the-american-sociological-association-should-open-its-paper-award-and-how-well-help/). Your suggestion, Victoria, would help on the prestige side but not the habit side. That is, it wouldn’t spread the habit of openness to more junior scholars.

    The SOAR program awards $400 to participating sections — that is, those that require all submissions be posted — but we also will give $250 to individual award winners if they win an award from a section that doesn’t participate, provided the paper is uploaded before the posted award deadline.

    Every little bit helps, and your suggestion is great, but we’re hoping for more!

    Like

    Philip N. Cohen

    August 6, 2017 at 7:35 pm

  3. Very true, Philip! I guess I’m just thinking of ways to increase open access if the proposal for all nominations doesn’t go through – this could be a compromise.

    Liked by 1 person

    Victoria Reyes

    August 6, 2017 at 7:53 pm

  4. The individual option is a good incentive, too, if sections are hesitant. If posting your paper means a cash prize from SocArXiv if you win a section award, unless you really hate the idea of having your paper out there, why not?

    And SocArXiv would love to have some kind of partnership with ASA. APA is moving in this direction (on phone or I’d find link), and it is a very positive step.

    Liked by 1 person

    epopp

    August 6, 2017 at 8:05 pm

  5. Having winners post their work seems uncontroversial to me.

    Having nominated papers posted could be more problematic as it then makes the list of losers public.

    Requiring unpublished papers (especially by grad students) posted is a nonstarter. Peer review can shape a paper significantly. (Whether it should is a different question entirely.) So we’d be asking people to publicly share things that may not be ready for that scrutiny.

    Liked by 1 person

    cwalken

    August 7, 2017 at 4:43 pm

  6. FWIW I am advising everyone I know (senior people as well as junior) to start putting working papers on SocArXiv. I tell them that a paper should go up when they think it is good enough to submit to a journal and/or when they start sending it around. Reasons: (1) This is your guard against having your work stolen by someone who reads a draft. Once you start mailing it around outside the pool of close friends and advisors, you want the paper to have a public date stamp on it: I had this done by this date. (2) It takes forever to get a paper through peer review. In the meantime, you are participating in the dialog.

    I do know that papers can change dramatically between working paper and publication. And that you may find an error in an earlier version. You can update your posting on SocArXiv to point to a later version, report an error, or even remove access to the older version of the paper.

    My model is how it is done in math and physics, where putting a paper on ArXiv is the automatic first step before sending a paper off to a journal for peer review. This to me is the way science ought to operate.

    Liked by 4 people

    olderwoman

    August 7, 2017 at 5:01 pm

  7. I like SocArXiv and I have posted a paper there, and intend to do so in the future. BUT I think trying to make posting mandatory for consideration for awards is problematic for several reasons (some of which have been aired in more depth on the SWS listserve): some papers are nominated by persons other than the author, and the nominator has no right to post someone else’s paper; some papers — even though prize-worthy and sometimes prize-winning — still need to have some of the rough edges removed. Posting something early should be a choice, not a rule — especially not a rule that can increase the risk of twitterstorming controversial work by vulnerable authors; demanding posting on SocArXiv is a power move by established folks who have the money and clout to lean hard on junior scholars to serve their agenda, regardless of whether the junior scholar thinks it a good idea; a prepublication post makes some (especially junior) scholars worried that it will end their authorial anonymity (and better established scholars can have the cred of semi-anonymity work for them in a way grad students can’t). Finally, even in the review process, where confidentiality by reviewers is stressed, unethical idea-stealing takes place and I have first hand knowledge of a grad student author harmed by this. If junior scholars, especially grad students, want to wait until they have an acceptance safely in hand before sharing their work widely, I can’t blame them and I think requiring posting is going to not only blame but actively punish them. If we can’t sell SocArXiV on its merits to scholars who can afford to take the risks of a new model, using our power to compel them to do so seems wrong.

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    myraferree

    August 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm

  8. Note not all papers have to be identified as award submissions, just posted before the deadline, so you don’t need to end up with a list of losers. My proposed rules for Family require sending an email with a link to the paper, without requiring any link to the award on the paper itself.

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    Philip N. Cohen

    August 7, 2017 at 7:17 pm

  9. Thanks, Myra. I appreciate these arguments, although I disagree. Here are some responses. I’m sorry I’m not privy to the discussion on the SWS listerv, so I’m glad you posted here.

    For background, I hope people will follow Beth’s links to understand what is specifically being proposed And that in turn will vary across sections: see my proposal for the Family Section here: https://familyinequality.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/lets-use-award-incentives-to-promote-open-scholarship-at-asa-this-year/

    Myra’s comments are in quotes, followed by my responses.

    “some papers are nominated by persons other than the author, and the nominator has no right to post someone else’s paper”

    This is a question for sections to consider. If you have papers nominated by people other than the authors then it makes the rule more complicated, as papers can’t be posted on SocArXiv without author permission. Such a section might not be eligible to participate in the SocArXiv program, which is fine. Note, however, that any paper posted to SocArXiv before the award deadline is individually eligible for a $250 travel award from SocArXiv if it subsequently wins the award, regardless of the section award rules.

    “some papers — even though prize-worthy and sometimes prize-winning — still need to have some of the rough edges removed. Posting something early should be a choice, not a rule — especially not a rule that can increase the risk of twitterstorming controversial work by vulnerable authors”

    People can always wait and submit their papers the next year. I personally don’t see how a paper can be award winning – and ready to show to a committee of strangers from the section – but not ready to share publicly. That’s just not a vision of openness in science, it’s a backward-looking, closed view of science, and what we are trying to get beyond. This is about promoting best practices.

    “demanding posting on SocArXiv is a power move by established folks who have the money and clout to lean hard on junior scholars to serve their agenda, regardless of whether the junior scholar thinks it a good idea”

    Like every other thing senior people and mentors require or strongly suggest of junior people, like publishing at all, attending and presenting at conferences, etc etc. It’s coercion when you don’t like what they’re promoting, and mentoring when you do.

    “a prepublication post makes some (especially junior) scholars worried that it will end their authorial anonymity (and better established scholars can have the cred of semi-anonymity work for them in a way grad students can’t).”

    But somehow this is not also the result of sending it to an award committee of strangers, and then – hopefully – having it lauded worldwide as an award-winning paper? Not to mention presenting it at conferences, discussing it with colleagues, etc. People do worry about this, but the risks of compromised anonymity are not well established, while the benefits of sharing are. We won’t be able to test this without trying. Our proposal starts from the understanding that the scholarly communication system is badly broken now – and sociology in particular lags behind other disciplines. If you don’t agree with that this proposal is unlikely to appeal to you.

    “Finally, even in the review process, where confidentiality by reviewers is stressed, unethical idea-stealing takes place and I have first hand knowledge of a grad student author harmed by this. If junior scholars, especially grad students, want to wait until they have an acceptance safely in hand before sharing their work widely, I can’t blame them and I think requiring posting is going to not only blame but actively punish them.”

    Your first-hand knowledge of someone having their ideas stolen during the anonymous review process does not support your argument, since that is the process you are trying to protect. Showing papers secretly to a committee would seem an obvious risk for idea stealing along these same lines. I have first-hand knowledge of unpublished ideas being stolen by mentors. The protection from this is public posting. This bears emphasis. Put a time stamp on it, put a DOI and a stable URL on it. It’s your idea. This argument is quite backwards. Openness is protection, abuse thrives in darkness.

    “If we can’t sell SocArXiV on its merits to scholars who can afford to take the risks of a new model, using our power to compel them to do so seems wrong.”

    By this logic we also can’t require readings for a course, or for exams, or to take courses at all. Surely, if these elements of training were useful on the merits we wouldn’t have to require them. There are people who believe that, but I’m not one of them. We help shape the culture by shaping the institutional rules, norms, and practices.

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    Philip N. Cohen

    August 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

  10. I’m glad this is generating a productive discussion. A couple of responses:

    1) Like any other requirement, adding an “openness” requirement to an award can be seen as coercive. But what are the costs and benefits of the change for sociology, and do some people (i.e. grad students) disproportionately bear any risks? For me, the benefits are clear. The cost is that people make their work open, which they otherwise might not bother to, or might not do until after acceptance/publication. If the factor is “wouldn’t otherwise bother,” that’s not too concerning. If we’re talking about published papers, assuming they’re not tagged as “award-losers” (good point about avoiding that), concern similarly seems minimal.

    The main fear, then, is about requiring people to share work earlier than they otherwise might. That seems to apply mostly to grad students submitting unpublished papers. Putting yourself out there is scary, and it’s scarier when you are new to the game. Are there some risks? Yes. You might put up something that turns out to be wrong, or that you are later embarrassed by. (Though you can take papers off SocArXiv too, so while the internet is forever, it doesn’t have to stay easy to find.) In extreme cases, you might get mocked on some dark corner of the internet or — worst case scenario? — get picked up by the right-wing outrage machine. This is a legitimate concern in the current environment, although unless you are planning to never publish your work at all, you are going to have to face it at some point.

    However, there are risks to holding on to one’s work, too — of being too cautious, of not being willing to take a risk, of being scooped by someone during the course of a long publication process, of just being irrelevant because you’re not participating in a larger conversation yet. Personally, I waited a long time — till after tenure — to participate in any of the online conversations because it was scary, and the internet is permanent, and I think it was only to my detriment. Participating in the broader conversation has been incredibly intellectually valuable. I wish I did it much sooner, and think I would have benefited from a push.

    2) All that said, it is of course up to sections to decide how far they want to go. SocArXiv is very willing to work with sections’ specific concerns. If people are worried about risks for grad students, it is certainly possible to open up “regular” paper awards (which in every case I know of are for published papers) but not grad student paper awards. It is also possible for sections to actively encourage grad students to share their work on SocArXiv when they submit (thereby becoming eligible for the individual award) regardless of whether they fully “open” their awards.

    I’d be interested in hearing from grad students, too, about perceived risks/benefits of putting polished drafts online — anonymous comments are fine.

    Like

    epopp

    August 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm

  11. I’m a grad student, and I have two papers (so far) uploaded on SocArXiv. Relevant to this discussion, I posted one after it won an award through the DC Sociological Society. I had a few people e-mail me asking to read it in light of the award, and I realized it was much easier to send a short URL than repeatedly attach a PDF file to individual e-mails. I also shared the SocArXiv link on social media, which resulted in more downloads, presumably by strangers who found the paper interesting — exciting!

    I understand the above arguments about vulnerability, especially the potentially enhanced risks for those of us who must soon face the job market, let alone secure tenure. I think Beth’s comments are accurate – sharing work is scary. But, I left my living-wage-paying job to get a PhD because I hope to generate work that influences communities outside the ivory tower. If the publishing process and paywalled journals make it hard to participate in academic discourse in real time, that gateway is intensified for having conversations with folks outside academia. I’d rather my work be accessible to communities and groups sooner, when it’s more relevant (and who probably don’t care if I revise some small details in a future version if the overall findings are the same).

    I guess it’s possible someone could find a paper that had not yet been peer reviewed and could attack me or showcase an embarrassing mistake. But Facebook launched when I was in high school – if you searched hard enough, you could find lots of things I said online when I was 17 that no longer reflect who I am a decade+ later. I think being more transparent about the multiple draft process that inevitably happen when working towards a published paper has more benefits than detriments. Sharing work sooner, in an accessible way, is how we need to move forward if we want to stay relevant as academics and as a discipline.

    And finally, I think this conversation highlights the nuance, and perhaps disagreement, of how to define when a paper “is ready” to share. I have some working papers – one of which I’m sharing at an ASA roundtable next week – that are not on SocArXiv because they’re still quite muddled. They’re also not at a point where I would be ready to submit them for an award. Perhaps one consequence of requiring papers to be on SocArXiv is that it inadvertently means papers will be at a more polished stage when submitted. And if so, is this a bad thing?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I agree that grad students probably shouldn’t post rough early-stage work online. But if a paper is so unpolished that it’s not ready for SocArXiv, is it really ready to be considered for an award?

    Liked by 2 people

    landonschnabel

    August 8, 2017 at 12:20 am

  13. alternative idea: get rid of grad student paper awards. what do we gain from them that we would miss in their absence?

    in my own experience, it never occurred to me to submit papers for awards, even though i had several possibly-worthy pubs as a grad student. my mentors didn’t prioritize them and i perceived all that resume-building stuff as pretentious and self-involved. i think differently now, but i’m still not sure paper awards offer the discipline much utility. is there any research on the correlation between awards and the long-term impact of papers? i would hypothesize that they are just as likely to reflect the zeitgeist, back-room connections, and selection biases (in processes related to both submission and judgment) than it is that they are a reliable indicator of “quality” research. perhaps i’m wrong. dead-wrong, even.

    Like

    anon

    August 8, 2017 at 3:10 am

  14. As a person who was a graduate student up until very recently, I’ll share my thoughts on this proposal and on some of the comments up here already. I’ll use many of Myra Marx Ferree’s comments as the blueprint, since she hit on all the issues I was concerned about (and then some). As a graduate student, I did upload preprints to SocArXiv, but only ones that had been published. I also regularly submitted papers to best student paper awards.

    First, small issues that need to be worked out (but that can probably be worked out):

    A) “some papers are nominated by persons other than the author, and the nominator has no right to post someone else’s paper”

    How closely do you want to mirror the structure of the non-student paper awards? My understanding is that those are generally not self-nominated, whereas the graduate student paper awards are mostly (but not entirely) self-nominated. But if I recall correctly, most sections do allow third parties to nominate graduate students. If sections want to end the practice of third party nominations, I think it’s worth thinking about what that signals…and whether the divergence from the other awards makes sense.

    B) “some papers — even though prize-worthy and sometimes prize-winning — still need to have some of the rough edges removed. Posting something early should be a choice, not a rule — especially not a rule that can increase the risk of twitterstorming controversial work by vulnerable authors”

    I generally agree with the point that you should always be allowed to take your papers down. If you have a new version of a paper, I think you should feel free to take down the old one and/or replace it. I submitted papers to awards that–after going through the peer review process–I would be quite embarrassed to have others see the earlier drafts.

    The issue of controversial work is a little trickier to work around. Are there internet trolls going around to archives to attack people? Again, this is another reason to allow people to take their work down.

    Second, some bigger, more intractable issues.

    C) “Finally, even in the review process, where confidentiality by reviewers is stressed, unethical idea-stealing takes place and I have first hand knowledge of a grad student author harmed by this. If junior scholars, especially grad students, want to wait until they have an acceptance safely in hand before sharing their work widely, I can’t blame them and I think requiring posting is going to not only blame but actively punish them.”

    I agree that ideally, putting your paper on SocArXiv would help prevent your work from being stolen. But putting it on SocArXiv would also dramatically increase the risk that it could be stolen. There’s risk both ways.
    Moreover, it is still very hard to envision how that protection would work in practice. There are definitely cases where grad students have had their work stolen by reviewers and faculty, but when has anyone in sociology ever been punished for stealing an idea? What would happen to the perpetrator? What sort of reparations would be awarded?
    The more I think through these questions, the less I’m confident that this would work out. Graduate students are already conditioned to not speak out against abusive faculty behavior. If they did speak out against a well-known faculty member, hiring committees may view them as a squeaky wheel. If the graduate student managed to get the offending article retracted, it still wouldn’t help them land that coveted publication. If putting your work on SocArXiv would increase the risk of intellectual theft but there were no disciplinary-wide protections/reparations for whistle-blowing, then it doesn’t seem like a good idea.
    Overall, I think that the issue of “how does justice work in the case of intellectual theft” is a really important question, one that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, and a problem that could be exacerbated by sharing the article early.

    D) “a prepublication post makes some (especially junior) scholars worried that it will end their authorial anonymity (and better established scholars can have the cred of semi-anonymity work for them in a way grad students can’t).”

    Personally, this was my biggest worry when submitting papers for awards. I was very cognizant of this problem, and I generally dealt with that worry by realizing that the awards committee would probably not be my reviewers.
    But to me, the best part about double-blind peer review as a graduate student is that you can be judged on the merits of your work and not that you are low on the totem pole. Everyone has heard the dismissive comments about student work, and I would expect that any reviewer who knew I was a student would become much more critical.
    Presently, this is only something to worry about if you win the award. And if you win the award and a reviewer recognizes your paper from the award, that means it is being recognized from acclamation. That might be a better outcome than not being recognized at all. But being recognized as a student submission without the halo is probably a negative.

    Bigger Philosophical Issue:

    E) “demanding posting on SocArXiv is a power move by established folks who have the money and clout to lean hard on junior scholars to serve their agenda, regardless of whether the junior scholar thinks it a good idea”

    It is a power move. Graduate students are an easy target because they don’t sit on section committees, and when they do they’re outnumbered. There is a lot of talk about how it’s important to teach open science to graduate students, but it is worrying on a philosophical level that we are starting with the grad student awards. Wouldn’t it make sense to start with the overall article awards first, or at least at the same time?
    I went back to look at the original proposal on the SocArXiv website, and it does not single out graduate students. I’m not sure how it started to focus on graduate students, but I would be philosophically opposed to making graduate students do something that the full members don’t have to participate in.
    At the minimum, if you require this of your graduate students you should require it of your other members too. And since regular faculty are less vulnerable than graduate students to the issues raised here, it would seem to be a better place to start.

    And one more thing…
    Why would we expect that having your papers posted to SocArXiv would get people in the habit of doing it otherwise? It provides a lot of free advertising for SocArXiv, and that would be good, but the mechanism how this develops a habit is not well specified. Does sending papers to award committees develop some sort of habit? I think there is an argument to be made that sharing papers is good even if it doesn’t develop a habit, but the part about developing a habit isn’t clear to me.

    I’m not sure whether my concerns are about this specific proposal or not. I think most of my concerns are about the research environment, and obstacles for junior scholars to share their work. I’m uneasy about the proposal itself, but heartened that we’re talking about some of the problems that existed well before this proposal.

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    J.

    August 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm

  15. To follow up and comment on something I haven’t seen here, but perhaps other places, I think part of the power critique is the proposal to require papers to be submitted to SocArXiv, and this proposal is coming from the director, and/or others affiliated with SocArXiv. However, if the concern is about open access, why not have the policy be any open access repository (ResearchGate, Academia.edu)? The argument could be made that SocArXiv is the best fit to disseminate work to sociologists. And the award given by SocArXiv could be for those who choose to post it on SocArXiv.

    Like

    Anon

    August 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm

  16. I consulted with my mathematician informant about the issue of posting on ArXiv vs. blind review. My informant says that math reviews are NOT blind to the author and basically cannot be, given the custom of putting everything on ArXiv first. So I do think we have to address the issue of the tradeoffs between open access and speedy communication vs. trying to remove implicit hierarchies in publication. FWIW here are my views on that tradeoff in light of ongoing discussions:

    (1) A knowledgeable reviewer can recognize the project and “voice” of higher-status authors. You either recognize the work, or you know that you don’t recognize it (i.e. that the person is not high status). The integrity of the review process has always hinged much more on the blindness of the reviewer and the willingness of reviewers to criticize their friends under the cover of blind review than on the blindness of the author. Ideas are recognizable and research communities are small. I’m not sure what advantage a grad student thinks they have in trying to be as anonymous as possible. The biases in the system are toward treating a bad paper by a senior scholar with more respect than it is due. I understand why junior people in the system are structurally paranoid, but I cannot quite figure out how they think being anonymous helps. Do they think they will be thought to be a full professor if nobody can figure out who wrote the paper? Well, no, it will be the opposite. The reviewer will assume it is a grad student if they cannot recognize the work. When you publish or go to a conference, your name is on your paper. That is how it works. Avoiding conferences and only submitting papers to blind review is a way to sabotage your career; why would you do it? In short, I have never seen much value in making a fetish of blind review. Books are never reviewed blind, grant proposals are never reviewed blind, and yet somehow the academy moves forward anyway. I think we need to have a serious conversation about the difference between keeping the author’s name off a paper as a symbol of removing the author’s status as a legitimate factor in the review (which I think is good) and the fantasy that the author’s name is somehow not known to reviewers.

    (2) Back to my original point, everything except grad student papers is already published when it wins an award, so the open access proposal would be about insisting that a published journal article have an ungated version, and I have no idea whether the proposal team has even thought about book awards, as I don’t think anybody is proposing that PDF preprints of books should be posted on the Internet; I know book publishers would probably freak out. This is why the conversation has shifted to grad student papers. I do thing the SocArXiv people need to cycle back and actually look this issue in the face: is the proposed requirement that an already-published paper be posted in a public ungated archive? Say that clearly. Are you proposing to treat journal articles like books, or not? As long as something is published and you can access it for a price, it is available for inspection. The issue of whether something is published and available for review and critique is a different issue from whether it is available for free. We also have not discussed dissertation awards. Dissertations are typically “published” in Dissertation Abstracts which, again, is available for a price to anyone, but not free. There are two issues with dissertations, (1) are you requiring that a dissertation be posted somewhere other than Dissertation Abstracts, the traditional venue, and (2) more and more new PhDs are embargoing their dissertations. Is the intent to stop this practice?

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    olderwoman

    August 8, 2017 at 3:47 pm

  17. This comment is from my mathematician informant. I post it because it calls out the fact that our supposed double blind process is not blind exactly at the key point where editors make decisions. It also highlights the dual issues of integrity in the peer review process and disrupting the for-profit control of journals. BOTH these issues are lurking in this debate.

    “I think the charade of single blind reviews, where just the reviewer is blind (but of course can also often be figured out), is in practice *usually* enough to ensure the integrity of the process. Even if I’m reviewing a friend’s paper, I’ll give honest comments on it, and I’d expect them to do the same. If I disagree with the report, it’s not like I can call out the referee by name. The best I can do is to send mediated comments through the editor.

    Actually, I have a question about the double blind system you apparently use. Is there any justification for the reviewer not knowing who the author is that doesn’t also apply to the editor? You could easily set up an anonymous communication system between author and editor, so I don’t think there’d be any fatal practical issues if you really wanted to do this.

    I am strongly pro-arxiv, as you’d expect, which means accepting at most single blinds.

    One of the trends in math that I like is the existence of “arxiv-overlay” journals. These are online only journals that do all the article hosting through the arxiv. There’s a referee process, and they also have a non-author expert write a brief summary of the paper. It’s the model I like best for the disruption of the standard academic publishing industry. Best example: http://discreteanalysisjournal.com/

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    olderwoman

    August 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm

  18. I think the proponents of this proposal have conflated a number of things in their eagerness to promote SocArXiv. As alderwoman notes, they’ve conflated articles and books. As others have noted, they’ve conflated published work and work in progress. And the goal posts keep shifting: first it is to promote open access. Then it is a section member’s right to read award winning work. Then it is to protect junior scholars from having their work stolen. Then it is to disseminate cutting edge work. Then it is all those things. Then it is… whatever gets posted in response to me.

    This proposal is a solution in search of a problem.

    And to each of the rationales given, I can think of better solutions.

    I’m not anti-open access. All of my published work, and even some unpublished work, is on my website, Academia.edu, and selected things are on SSRN and SocArXiv. But this proposal is still a work in progress, and needs more peer review before it’s ready for wide dissemination. As a Council member, I’ll be asking my other officers to vote against it. As a section member, I’ll be asking my Councils to vote against it.

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    cwalken

    August 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

  19. Quick clarification: there is not one proposal for all sections. SocArXiv has an incentive program and different sections are considering ways to take advantage of it. The grad award proposal came from my read of the Family awards, which have a general award from published papers and a grad award from unpublished papers. That’s why that one is grad focused; it makes more sense for unpublished papers. If sections want to promote openness in different ways that’s wonderful, they just won’t get the SocArXiv incentive money.

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    Philip N. Cohen

    August 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm

  20. On the issue of idea-stealing, and having nothing to do with the SocArXiv award program in particular.

    People have very deep misconceptions about how academia works, sociology in particular, and these are reflected in J’s comments above.

    With exceptions so rare that no one can name them — though I would love to hear about them — this is the reality: the ASA will not help you, the police will not help you, the law will not help you, Sage and Elsevier will not help you, and copyright law in particular will not help you. There will be no reparations. The only thing that will help you is community enforcement of academic norms. That’s it! And your ideas have no more protection when they appear in a “published” article than when they appear in a preprint on SocArXiv. They are your ideas, and if someone really steals them (rather than building off of them, which is after all the point of science), the only thing you can do is shame them, and get other honorable people to shame them with you, possibly to the extent that the offender will be punished by their graduate program or employer, if their behavior is documented and very egregious. It’s plagiarism, and we have a lot of experience dealing with it in academia. This will not happen in court, it will more likely than not happen on Twitter or this blog. And it will only happen if you can document where and when you had this original thought. When you make it public you own it. It will be virtually impossible for you to make this case if the thief reads your paper in secret on an awards committee, or in secret as a journal reviewer; and if (as is most likely) the thief is someone working very close to you, the documented paper trail is your only hope. “I showed him a draft and he took my idea” is not a winning hand.

    In the meantime, science literally only does any good for anyone anywhere to the extent that it is shared. The benefits from your work, for you and your goals as a social scientist, only come from other people reading it. If you want to have a career worth having, to generate knowledge that does some good, to lead an interesting life of the mind, to have an academic job — however you define it — sharing your work is absolutely to your benefit, and hiding your work out of misplaced fear (and perhaps inflated notions of its value to theives), is to your detriment. Share it early, and your competitor may become a collaborator, an error may become a learning opportunity; share it late and the competition becomes a grudge match, and the errors can be devastating.

    Sociology is far behind other disciplines on this, as is obvious to all observers who look beyond our discipline; it is stifling our work and enfeebling our professional (and, dare I say, personal lives). Our work is worse for it in every way. The fear exhibited in the comments I’ve seen in the last few days is much more harmful than the risks at issue, when they are in any way realistically appraised. Neither stoking fear in others nor ruminating in it yourself will help you. Sharing your work will.

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    Philip N. Cohen

    August 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm

  21. In response to OW: I agree about blind review, and grad students in particular. Also, at present I fear keeping reviewer names hidden allows more bad behavior than it prevents – including harm to grad students and junior people whose work can be shot down with impunity by a single sentence from a self-interested anonymous senior person.

    FYI, we already did this with the ASA Dissertation Award (prompted by the Goffman situation), stopping the practice of giving the award to embargoed dissertations and requiring that the winning dissertation be publicly available (though stopping short of requiring it be available free):

    “To be eligible for the ASA Dissertation Award, candidates’ dissertations must be publicly available in Dissertation Abstracts International or a comparable outlet. Dissertations that are not available in this fashion will not be considered for the award.” http://www.asanet.org/news-events/member-awards/dissertation-asa-award

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    Philip N. Cohen

    August 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm

  22. “the ASA will not help you, the police will not help you, the law will not help you, Sage and Elsevier will not help you, and copyright law in particular will not help you. There will be no reparations. The only thing that will help you is community enforcement of academic norms. That’s it!”

    And this is exactly why people worry about putting their work online. If someone steals your work–whether or not it was posted in a public place–there is nothing that’s going to help you in your job search/tenure file. Putting it online can increase your likelihood of your idea being stolen and do nothing to help you in the case that it is stolen. When the only consolation is the possible humiliation of the offender, that doesn’t help you.

    “Do they think they will be thought to be a full professor if nobody can figure out who wrote the paper? Well, no, it will be the opposite. The reviewer will assume it is a grad student if they cannot recognize the work. ”

    No, but hopefully the lack of certainty that you know it is a grad student will discourage the reviewer from dismissing the paper out of hand. Are you arguing that it is commonplace to dismiss blinded peer review manuscripts out of hand simply because the reviewer does not recognize an author’s signature style?

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    J.

    August 8, 2017 at 9:00 pm

  23. To reiterate what a previous poster said, I think there’s a lot of conflation of problems. Advocating SocArXiv as a repository for working papers is separate from asking people to put nominated papers in an open access repository. Except for grad students, paper awards are generally for published papers, so vulnerabilities related to unpublished papers is solely on grad students, which seems like something we’d want to avoid.

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    Anon

    August 8, 2017 at 9:09 pm

  24. Wow, this thread really took off. Just to address one of the many things touched on in here — while I guess it’s better to have your research on Academia or ResearchGate than having it totally paywalled, those sites are by no means open. They are proprietary and very much focused on figuring out how to monetize the social network they are trying to build. (The 6000-word terms and conditions you sign onto when you join should give you a clue: http://www.academia.edu/terms.) Personally, I would much rather see people host research on personal sites — though those have disadvantages in terms of indexing and so on — or university repositories than on Academia.

    Part of the motivation to build something like SocArXiv is to create a place with the mission of disseminating and improving research, not trying to squeeze money out of it, and taking some control back over what we do. This is why it makes sense to try to get people to use a new site — it’s not some sort of ego-gratification project.

    Liked by 1 person

    epopp

    August 9, 2017 at 1:59 am


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