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A role for publishers.... or for journal editors?

Posted by edreyer on 30 Oct 2014 at 12:28 GMT

I fully agree with the content of this paper. Institutions and journal editors are getting fumlly aware of the importance of open data as a full scientific production that needs be made available for re use, and for quality control as companions to published papers. Unfortunately, I see an important ambiguity in the whole paper that requires some clarification. It is that we never knwo whether the actors should be the "publishers" (i.e., Elsevier, Springer, francis and Taylor, Nature publishing group, etc) of the journal editors (i.e., the scientists in charge of the editorial policy of the journal and the warrants of the scientific quality of the published material). I strongly believe that this is issue, as well as the issue of the ethics in scientific publication, is a central duty of the journal editors and not of the publishers. The procedues for submission and evaluation, the guidelines and rules for access and for the data repositiories should be a major concerns for the scietists in charge of the editoriazl policy of the journals, and the publishers should act in support of this policy. Otherwise, we would rapidly run into the classical conflict of interest which is already visible todate for the publication of papers: publishers need to publish to make their economic model run. Scientists need to publish relevant and solid stuff including data sets. I will not list again the concerns raised by many scientists about the policy of publishers towards the publication business.
This confusion is a real problem for me, and I would urge the authors of the present "recommendations" to clarify this point. Actually, the solution would rely on a tight cooperation between editors (who should take the lead and develop editorial policies for their journals) and the publishers (who may bring an added value due to their expertise in publication techniques and data management systems.

Indeed, the solution is a clear and transparent cooperation between editors and publishers, each with his aims and responsibilities to avoid the conflict of interest that will arise if we do not clarify this matter.

Erwin Dreyer, Editor of Annals of Forest Science, Inra Nancy (France).

No competing interests declared.