4 responses

  1. Thomas Kaiser
    17 May, 2013

    The problem is that politicians care only about the big funding
    for applied research, for example the EIT. Politicians don’t care about
    small conference grants. They don’t care about learned societies.
    They don’t know how the science world works.

  2. Steve Baker
    18 May, 2013

    The role of learned societies

    Learned societies exist in order to foster and disseminate knowledge about academic subject areas. Mission statements of learned societies tend to read along fairly similar lines. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s aim is “to foster and encourage the growth and application of science by the dissemination of chemical knowledge”, while the Society for Endocrinology aims to enable “the advancement of public education in endocrinology”. Societies work towards these aims in a variety of ways, including publishing journals, running conferences and seminars, subsidising research funding, providing travel bursaries and assistance, and funding student scholarships. In order to finance these activities a range of revenue sources are tapped, including journal subscriptions, conference delegate fees and re-investment of surplus funds.

  3. Denis Bogdanas
    19 May, 2013

    Journal subscriptions did make sense in pre-internet era, where all published works were accessible on paper. Now, with the advent of online databases, they should be a thing of the past. However, the money lost from lost subscriptions could be gained by other means.

    I would suggest the following:
    – Access to all papers in online databases to be free.
    – To compensate losses, publication fees for papers to be raised.

    This approach would have the following advantages:

    – Papers would be accessible to anyone, not just paid subscribers. This way, scientific awareness among curious public would be raised. I’m PhD student in computer science, but I often want to read an intriguing paper in physics or astronomy. I cannot do it because it is not freely accessible, and I cannot afford the cost. Free access to scientific papers is important also because many papers are referred from wikipedia, and many would like at least to skim them.
    – Publication fees are in most of the cases paid by universities, not by the authors themselves. Thus the increased cost would not impact the authors. Those fees account for just a small amount of research budget, and would go relatively unnoticed.

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