why i am no longer publishing (my own) #research in #academic journals - a (long) thread 1/38

#AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter #academicpublishing #academicjournals #peerreview #ecrchat #OpenScience #publicationbias

(some references at the end of the thread)
(i still have a few collaborative papers to write and these will be published properly for the benefit of my co-authors)

i will soon publish a paper on a pre-print server, with no intention of submitting to an academic journal. my reasons for this are manifold 2/38
1. #academia is inherently corrupt & the publication model facilitates this:
- unpaid labour (editors, peer-reviewers,& authors [ok, they do get paid by the uni which oft = public funds yet journals privately profit & we see none of this unlike other forms of publishing]) 3/38
- contribution to flawed metrics ( #impactfactor, H-index) which take zero account of the quality of the #research
- perpetuates (faux notions of) prestige, hierarchies, discrimination (often = abuse of power, actively advantaging certain groups [eg. white male]) 4/38
- turns knowledge production into a product to sell
- actively blocks our #humanright to knowledge (see @Sci_Hub's rationale for existing)
- lacks accountability - publish flawed research? block criticism, or retract it after the seed has been planted (see #antivax) 5/38
2. the idea of #openaccess solves virtually none of these problems, and actually contributes to #inequality. #scientists (i hope) want their #research to be accessible. but if you can't afford open access then you are forced to use a subscription model 6/38
ironically, two of my publications i cant access. this means you have to choose between your own morals and your need to #publish in #academic journals for your career progression. horrible and unnecessary decision

the fact #research funders pander to open access baffles me 7/38
as it perpetuates the idea that journals per se are important & necessary. they are not. it surprises me that funders don’t (usually) have their own journals to save time and money but also show off the work they have funded 8/38

@UKRI_News @mariecurieuk
3. there are 2 key differences between #academic and non-academic publishing: (i) whether the author gets paid from the profits (discussed above); (ii) #peerreview.

research shows many problems with peer-review, including that it is largely no better than chance 9/38
research also shows that the #scientific community think peer-review is important and that in itself seems to justify its continued use. others mention we have nothing better.

but the question is then, do we need something better to remove its use? 10/38
- #peerreview takes time & we often arent paid for this ('good will')
- if we get rejected from 1 journal, we carry on submitting until we are accepted, so why are we even rejecting papers at all? = time wasting
- its full of bias, incl based on author names (gender/race) 11/38
- its based on the opinion of usually 1 editor & 2 reviewers. why do these voices count more than any1 elses? are these legitimately the best people to review the paper? often editors arent experts in your exact paper so dont know who the best people to ask to review are 12/38
sometimes we are asked to recommend reviewers - problematic in itself. hands up who chooses people they think will give a favourable opinion? 🙋‍♀️

in the end though, reviewers are the ones who accept the review, not necessarily the best people for the review 13/38
also, time frames for reviewing a paper are sometimes ridiculous, like 1 week. this automatically blocks a good chunk of people (esp those w a life/responsibilities) & some of these people might be the most suitable for the review = perpetuating a particular groups opinions 14/38
editors & reviewers facilitate a huge power imbalance being the gatekeepers of knowledge. hands up who has removed/changed something in their paper just to please reviewers even though you disagreed? 🙋‍♀️ why is their opinion > yours? YOU KNOW THE RESEARCH BETTER THAN ANYONE! 15/38
4. word counts. *sigh* these actively inhibit creative thinking, important methodological detail, etc & do particularly large/complex projects no favours.
in fairness, who has time to read a long paper? indeed, no one. the fact that is an issue is part of the wider problem 16/38
i recently spent 12 h reading an 80 pg review. it was amazing. i learnt a lot. i enjoyed it. if i wasnt unemployed, that would have been horrible & stressful. i think most people quite enjoy getting stuck into a paper, but our *entire system* makes that an unpleasant chore 17/38
we should fight to get proper *academic* workloads; regardless though, what right have journals got to dictate how much knowledge we are exposed to?

5. journals don't prevent fraud, and generally lack accountability. 18/38
#peerreview often cannot detect fake data, plagiarism, disregard of research ethics etc. this is such a problem, we now have whole groups dedicated to exposing BS, h/t @RetractionWatch
there is a +ve correlation between fraud/retractions & #impactfactor 19/38
this speaks volumes for (the lack of) quality control.

6. reduces critical thinking (speculatively). the journal-published stamp of approval means we often forget to apply proper critique to research (i imagine subconsciously) 20/38
this is most prevalent in the public who will find *any* piece of crappy peer-reviewed research to show (eg) vaccines are ineffective or whatever. but in the academy too, we teach students that journal articles are the accepted form of truth. published = reasonable quality 21/38
if its not in a peer-reviewed journal then we (subconsciously) are much more critical; i've heard comments like "how do we know the research was even done" (how do we know that anyway?), "must be flawed if it's not published" (nice tautology, *facepalm*), and... 22/38
..."we need to be cautious until its published" (what exactly happens in between times?).
this last "critique" is key - why can't YOU critique the paper? why do you have to wait for someone else to critique the paper first? does this preclude published works from caution? 23/38
we see this in action - people will often cite the lower quality research that agrees with their hypothesis, and ignore the higher quality research which disagrees. this represents many problems, including our inconsistent ability to critique fairly. 24/38
to sum my key issues, #academic publishing often:
- closes down dialogue
- chooses people,not necessarily based just on merit, to be the gatekeepers of knowledge
- perpetuates bias/inequality
- socialises risk (funding research), privatises profit ( #openaccess/subscription) 25/38
- turns knowledge into a marketised product

we pander to all this because we have a system where our careers and reputations depend on it.

imo, this stems from an outdated notion of faux prestige associated with the academy 26/38
i am actually a bit terrified of only publishing in #PrePrint journals; mainly im worried my work won't get taken seriously, that people won't want to cite it because its not peer-reviewed (my aim isn't citations, just that relevant ideas/research shouldn't be ignored) 27/38
id be more understanding of these fears if the current system legitimately added any value, but it doesn't. so i know these fears are based on a weird arrogance the academy has instilled in me, that my ideas are lesser is they aren't formally peer-reviewed pre-publication 28/38
perhaps the only benefits i see to pre-publication peer-review is helping prevent:
- important details being missing
- illogical flow of ideas
- it generally not making sense

none of these are #scientific points tho, theyre 'aesthetic' to help the reader (v important obvs) 29/38
publishing on #preprints does of course have its issues; weve seen w #COVID__19 preprint #research of poor quality being overhyped. this is a media & #scicomm problem tho, not a publishing problem. we know this because *exactly* the same thing happened for peer-reviewed work30/38
that also goes back to my point about lack of critical thinking.

#preprints offer a paper up to more open conversations & critiques, and the author has an easier time amending their paper. 31/38
anything that #PeerReview might raise of value (e.g. "did you see this paper you didn't cite? might be useful") can still be addressed.

unlike #academic journals who give the facade of #openscience, this model actually lives open science 32/38
for me, i no longer have an #academic career. the system has fucked me in more ways than i've ranted about on twitter. im now unemployed unnecessarily mid-pandemic.

why should i give away my intellectual property to a journal? 33/38
i cant afford #openaccess so itll be behind a paywall (against my ethics) & contribute 0 to my pocket when i could do with the cash

why should i waste time giving in to ridic journal requirements - formatting, word counts, unnecessarily complicated submission systems etc? 34/38
if journals are about sharing knowledge, then they are welcome to approach me and ask to publish my work, and pay me for the privilege.

pretty arrogant of me, you're probably thinking.

well here's the thing with #academia... 35/38
it gets you to accept exploitation and undervalue your labour, expertise, and time, for this faux notion of prestige.

it is not arrogant to ask to be paid for your work: artists, musicians, book authors, and EVERY OTHER CAREER on the planet does so 36/38
i will be fully open to discussing any #preprint papers i publish, happy to admit i was wrong, make edits etc. in return, i hope people will cite the work if appropriate and not dismiss it automatically because it's not peer-reviewed by typical academic standards. 37/38
theres lots of problems i havent covered in there, & i do have an idea for an alternative system, but that's for another day. thanks for reading this far, and just a reminder that Einstein thought #peerreview was nonsense too:
(references below)
BONUS TWEET: I think more of us should say no to the system. Its difficult cos our careers depend on it. Im kinda lucky that I no longer care to be part of the system. But collectively if we all said no, big things could change. WE DESERVE BETTER
#brokenacademia #AcademicTwitter
about 1/2 the decision for a grant is based on chance: https://sci-hub.tw/10.1126/science.7302566

low reliability in peer-review, which may ↑ validity, but particularly in #STEM, we care not for validity/critically assessing the relative merits of different perspectives: https://sci-hub.tw/10.1002/aris.2011.1440450112
also, i didn't even get on to how unscientific the entire publication process is... maybe another time

#brokenacademia #AcademicTwitter #openscience #PeerReview #academia
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