Sunday, May 27, 2007

Why the scientific publishing system sucks the big hairy dog, part 1 of X

My contract is coming up for review, so I’m updating my CV. This includes looking up papers and abstract I’m on and getting the references. So I go to a major university–based publishing house’s website to check one of these references- an abstract that I’m last author on, and never actually got a copy of. Since I’m at home (it is Sunday night here), I obviously don’t have journal access, but that’s OK. All I need is the reference. So I click the “save citation” button, and guess what happens. Do I get the correct reference, in a handy format? As if. Instead I get directed to the login page. I don’t want the article, I don’t want the abstract, all I want is the frigging reference, but those tight-fisted English wankers won’t even give that out without the coin of the realm. I ended up cutting and pasting the author list, title, and reference text from the index page separately. Hopefully that is all the info I need (it looks complete), so I have what I need to know, but still. Asking for $$ (or pounds, or blood) just to get the citation information all in one piece is beyond stingy; it makes Mr. Scrooge look like a philanthropist.

3 comments:

divalent said...

Oh.My.Gawd!

Your fingers must be hurting with all the typing those inconsiderate mega-greedy-exploitive-parasitic publishers forced you to do. I have no doubt that their document retrieval system was set up just to frustrate people brushing up their CV, as it is well known that scientists only use typewriters and thus would not be expected to have an electronic version of the title and author list of their own publications.

This has got to be some sort of human rights violation.

Chuck said...

You are assuming that by the time a publication comes out, all the authors are still talking to the corresponding author..

James Annan said...

use google scholar

you can get citations out in LaTeX format (look at prefs or "advanced" or something) and maybe plain text.