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Hiding Your Research Behind A Paywall Is Immoral

Thumbs up to Mike Taylor, a research associate at the University of Bristol who wrote this great article on the Guardian Higher Education Network this week. The gist is that many scientists publish their research in journals that require subscription payments, blocking the majority of interested readers from accessing their work. Keeping their research behind these types of ‘paywalls’ can’t be justified given that scientists’ job is to produce knowledge and make it freely available to all. The current ‘lack of prestige’ associated with open access publishing outlets must end; Scientists publishing in high-impact paywalled journals for their own career advancement must end; and we must fundamentally change academic culture to focus on free and open availability of knowledge for all people.

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One of the news articles featured in today’s edition of the Guardian Higher Education Network e-newsletter, (Mis)Judging Female Scientists, caught my eye this morning and infuriated me enough to post this (hopefully short) rant about it.

According to Dario Maestripieri, a very male neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, the women neuroscientists at a recent conference he attended just weren’t up to scratch in the looks department. After attending the conference he posted the following comments on his Facebook page:

“My impression of the Conference of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. There are thousands of people at the conference and an unusually high concentration of unattractive women. The super model types are completely absent. What is going on? Are unattractive women particularly attracted to neuroscience? Are beautiful women particularly uninterested in the brain? No offense to anyone..”

Wow.

So in order to avoid the scorn of decidedly macho male scientists, it isn’t enough to just do good research – we also have to get a makeover every time we head to a professional meeting to present a paper? Or is the research of the (obviously very rare) supermodel scientist going to be taken more seriously than that of the “average woman” scientist just because its author is sexier?

 
What’s next? Forget the Best Poster Prize – let’s give out Vivienne Westwood Style Awards for the bustiest, leggiest pieces of meat in the research community.

Friend of WikiLeaks

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The Final Countdown

Submission of PhD ThesisMay 1st, 2013
The big day is here. Joy to the world!
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