Thursday, 30 May 2013

Naxalism - solution is Schedules V and VI of the Constitution

The Supreme Court recently complained that 'nobody looks at Schedules V and VI of the Constitution and the result is Naxalism'.
http://www.cprindia.org/sites/default/files/Constitution_Defiled_BG_Verghese.pdf  

Empower tribals or it will get worse - Ex-DG, BSF

http://tehelka.com/empower-tribals-or-it-will-get-worse-ex-dg-bsf/

Non-application of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

As per the Constitiution, the Scheduled Areas of the country are to be ruled by the Governor by appointing a Tribes Advisory Council which will decide what is done with the area and how it is to be administered.
This Tribes Advisory Council has never been constituted by any governor. The chief minister has no role in the administration of the tribal areas and nor does the forest minister. The Tribes Advisory Council will decide whether the area must be given for mining or not. If you give the tribals this power, they will administer the area. If they want to extract minerals, they will have a liaison with the company, they will file an agreement and the company will take out the ore and the Panchayat will get the money.

The advasi does not have this right. The chief minister of the state signs an agreement with the company and they evict tribals from the area. Is it not illegal and unlawful?

The tribals are helpless. They have been evicted from hundreds of acres of land. The Maoists say, “The government is illegal and unlawful. We will have to fight them.”

We must ask why are civilians taking up the gun? It is because the government has been illegal and unlawful. If you remove the cause of insurgency, then it will disappear.

How are you going to help the adivasis when they see that the police are conducting operations? Do you know how many innocent people get killed in the process? How do you get the Maoists out of this game? That should be the objective.

Very simple. Enforce the Fifth Schedule. Let the adivasis administer the area themselves. The chief minister is illegally administering the area by signing a lease with the mining companies. Is that not illegal and unlawful?

Chief Minister may be democratically elected but he is doing an illegal thing. He has no power under the Act to administer the forests. The Fifth Schedule says it must be administered by the Governor of the state reporting to the President of India. Where does the Chief Minister come into this?

The Maoists are using the adivasis to come to power. You are not treating them justly which is why they are going to the Maoists. The Maoists will promise them that when we get the power you will administer the area yourself. The adivasis are poor, illiterate people. What can they do but agree? The only way out is to implement the Fifth Schedule.

But in 65 years, the Fifth Schedule has never been implemented and it is not going to be implemented in a hurry.
It is the law of the land and if you are not implementing it, then you are illegal and unlawful. I’ll give you the answer why it is not implemented. Because, there are millions of dollars available to the Government under these areas and nobody wants to give that money to the adivasis.

Monday, 27 May 2013

What’s behind that glass of milk? - Anusha Narain - Some grim details about the cow in India

Some grim details about the cow in India, the world’s largest producer of milk.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/whats-behind-that-glass-of-milk/article4685099.ece

With 1.2 billion people and 400 million vegetarians, anyone who does not have a vegan diet contributes to the suffering of cows.

The business of producing milk — indeed, the multi-crore rupee cattle industry it’s a part of — is sustained by a process of relentless cruelty towards animals, from birth till death, with little letup. Cruelty compounded by poorly defined, poorly implemented methods and gross violations.

India - highest milk-producing nation, National demand of 150 million tonnes of milk by 2016-17.
Millions of cattle will be produced (mainly through artificial insemination) for this purpose.

Done through 'productivity enhancement, strengthening and expanding village-level infrastructure for milk procurement and providing producers with greater access to markets'.
Today India is home to the world’s largest cattle herd, with 324 million head.

The government is positioning this as a food security measure for the future.

Cruelty
From the point of view of the animals, though, unthinkable cruelty lies ahead.
The first three stages of life — birth, maturity and motherhood — happen with inhuman haste. The female calf is born. She reaches puberty somewhere between 15 months and three years of age, depending on the breed, and is then impregnated, increasingly through artificial insemination.
Due to poor equipment and a lack of proper training, artificially inseminated cows sometimes become infertile and develop infections with few to care for them.

When the calf is born, they are separated from their mothers soon after they are born so that they don’t drink up all the milk.

If we take milk from cows, then what does the calf drink? By and large, unless the calf is what is called 'replacement stock,' it will get only the bare minimum necessary for survival. Often it will not even get that. 

To increase yield, the cows are also injected with Oxytocin, a hormone banned in India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and section 12 of Food and Drug Adulteration Prevention Act, 1960. Cows injected with Oxytocin have a greater incidence of abortions, mastitis and lower conception rates, and their calves suffer higher than normal infant mortality and delayed puberty.

And what happens to unwanted male calves? Milk cows need to produce a calf every year and half those calves are male. While a fraction of these are used to pull ploughs, others are butchered. Their skin is used for leather, and their meat for local consumption and export. Calf leather comes from male calves of which India has a huge number.

With traditional backyard agriculture slowly giving way to 'intensive dairy farming', hundreds of cows are confined for long periods within cramped, dark and acrid quarters. At some places, calves are tied outside till they die of starvation; so technically they have not been killed.

And what about cows? Cows and buffaloes can be productive until about the age of 14 years. But in the existing set up, in which cows are kept pregnant for almost 300 days a year, most of them dry up by the age of five or six. And after spending most of her life being milked, enduring hormone injections and the trauma of separation, the cow is sent off to the slaughterhouse.

Twenty-eight Indian states have cow-slaughter protection legislations in place. Unproductive cows, therefore, are routinely trafficked to slaughterhouses in the states where laws are less stringent or non-existent — Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Lakshadweep, and especially Kerala. A large number of cattle is trafficked to Kerala, under inhuman conditions, from the neighbouring states as it is a major consumer of beef and does not have any regulation pertaining to cow slaughter. Cattle are also trafficked to West Bengal, from where they are taken to Bangladesh.

The latest delicacy in demand in the Middle Eastern markets is veal (the meat of a calf no older than three months). Flesh of unborn calves is known to bear medicinal value hence pregnant cattle are slaughtered.

In many slaughterhouses, the act of slaughtering involves smashing the head of a cow with a sledgehammer, which renders it unconscious; then skinning it; and or hanging it upside down so that all the blood can be drained from the slit jugular vein, then skinning it live.

The police insisted we file a complaint first, which gave the cattle owners time to hide the remaining cows. The slaughterhouse owners received an anticipatory bail.

According to the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India has 3,600 slaughterhouses, nine modern abattoirs and 171 meat-processing units licensed under the meat products order. These do not include the numerous and ever-growing number of illegal and unregulated slaughterhouses, estimated to be more than 30,000. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture’s report on Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade, India became the biggest beef exporter in the world in 2012 with 16,80,000 tonnes of beef and veal exports, followed by Brazil with 13,94,000 metric tonnes and Australia with 13,80,000 metric tonnes of exports. In 2013, India’s beef exports are forecast 29 per cent higher to a record 2.16 million tonnes, accounting for nearly a quarter of world trade.

The government gives subsidies to slaughterhouses because beef exports are a gold mine. A US beef export federation study states India exported $1.24 billion worth of meat in the first half of 2012.

One dead animal is worth approximately Rs. 30,000. Tissues from a cattle’s heart are used to rebuild livers. Horns and hoofs are used to make buttons, skin is used for leather, flesh for meat, tail is used for fertility treatment, bones are used for whitening sugar, and producing gelatin.

In states such as Madhya Pradesh, where cow slaughter is illegal, trafficking is rife, and the dry cattle that are not transported are let loose on the streets, where they live the last days of their lives foraging in dustbins, eating plastic-infested garbage and drinking polluted water from open drains. 

The government runs several  goshalas , shelters for old cattle, across the country, but these are too few and are not governed by serious norms. Goshalas have started to operate along the lines of dairy farms; only accepting healthy, productive cows.

Nutrition
For all this, milk may not even be as rich in calcium as we have been led to believe. The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost non-existent.

Environment
Also, the growing numbers of cattle casts a heavy shadow on the environment. Bovines produce methane when they pass gas. It is estimated that a bovine produces, depending on the breed, anywhere between 100 litres to 500 litres of methane a day. This is equivalent to the per-day carbon dioxide emissions of a car.  India’s huge bovine population makes methane a dangerous pollutant.

There is also the ecological problem. Producing fodder for 324 million cows puts immense strain on scarce land and water resources.

The Humane Society of India’s report states: Animal agriculture occupies 30 per cent of the earth’s total land area. Approximately 33 per cent of total arable land is used to produce feed crops, in addition to vast areas of forested land that is clear-cut to graze or grow feed for farmed animals.

Alternative
What, then, is the alternative? plant-based diet.

The government is using taxpayer money to subsidise dairy products (and indirectly the leather and beef industries). What it should be doing is to promote the production of protein-rich plant-based foods such as legumes, soybeans, pulses, fruits and nuts using the land and water resources that are otherwise used to produce cattle feed.  That, and only that, will work if we are to put food on the plates of our starving children.

Organisations

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
The American physician Dr. Michael Klaper, the author of books such as Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple  and  Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet
Help Animals India and Vishakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals, Vishakhapatnam
Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur
Sharan, Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature, Pondicherry
People for Cattle in India (PFCI), a Chennai-based animal rescue group
Animal Care Trust, Mangalore
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C.

 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Why economic growth has stalled – and it’s not what the FM is telling us - By R Vaidyanathan, IIM-B

http://www.firstpost.com/business/why-growth-has-stalled-and-its-not-what-the-fm-is-telling-us-785435.html

May 15 2013

V Short
Unorganised sector (partnerships, proprietorships etc) is 65 - 80% of service sector. Software activities is less than 5%. Bank credit to unorganised' sector was 33% in 2010, with consistent decline. Interesting that corporate sector with 12% of national income, gobbles up half the bank credit - and also defaults on loans. Unorganised, or non-corporate sector, is the fastest growing segment, but its credit needs are met by private money lenders etc. Cost of borrowing is as high as 5-6 % per month – 70 % per annum. Black money used to be partly financing them is now in real estate and gold.
-----------------------
The growth rate of our economy has declined to around 5-6 percent now.
Economists as C Rangarajan and Raghuram Rajan ascribe this to the global slowdown as well as delayed decisions in acquiring land and providing clearances for major infrastructure projects. They are right – but only to a very small extent.

The main drivers of growth in our economy are services, whose share in GDP is around 65 percent. All software-related activities come under business services, which itself is less than 5 percent per cent of our national income.

In Table 1, we have shown the activities that constitute the services sector (Construction, trade, hotel and restaurants, transport, Banking and insurance, Real estate, Education Medical Health ...). As can be seen, this sector encompasses diverse activities carried on by large multinationals as well as roadside entrepreneurs.

Services sector has a share of 65 percent of GDP in 2011-12

Within the services sector, businesses are dominated by the non-corporate sector – namely partnerships, proprietorships and household enterprises. The share of what is called the “unorganised” sector in these activities  is 65 - 80 %.

Data on bank credit categorise 'unorganised' sector under the household sector. Their share of bank credit, which was nearly 60 percent in the early nineties, has become 33 percent in 2010, showing a consistent decline.
The share of the corporate sector has gone up from around 30 percent to 49 percent and the government from 10 percent to 20 percent.

It is interesting that the corporate sector, which has less than 12 percent of our national income, gobbles up nearly half the bank credit.
The crony capitalists who default on bank loans get a larger share for their wasteful expenditure.

Even though the unorganised, or non-corporate sector, is the fastest growing segment, its credit needs are not met by the banking sector but by private money lenders etc.
And the cost of borrowing is as high as 5-6 percent per month – or around 70 percent per annum.
We estimate that more than 70 percent of retail trade needs were met by moneylenders/chits, etc, in 2010-11.

Finance Minister is going around with a begging bowl to New York and Tokyo for FII funds.
An aura has been created that FII and FDI flows though in the last decade they have met only 6-8 percent of our investment needs.

Our kiranas and Udupi restaurants and one-truck operators and barbers, plumbers, masons and small-time contractors are crying for credit at reasonable rates. But we will not bother about them. They are not sophisticated enough to argue at the Confederation of Indian Industry or Ficci conferences. They are pan-chewing, dhoti-clad and English-illiterate entrepreneurs. They are the real engines of our economic growth.

The current slowdown is directly linked to the choking of these activities. The huge black money generated in our economy used to be partly financing them.
Now that has also dried up since that money is more in to real estate and gold.

The solution is to create a separate body to develop a robust non-banking financial sector and free it from the RBI as well as the bureaucratic clutches of state governments. The RBI’s hands are full and so there is no point in complaining that it is not alert about the crores coming from non-bank sources – leading to dubious use and abuse. The developmental authority for the non-bank sector should primarily focus on helping partnership and proprietorship firms in the economy through appropriate credit mechanisms and non-strangulating regulations.

Waste pickers in Pune force corporates and the municipality to address safe disposal of sanitary napkins

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/kicking-stink

Waste pickers’ cooperative in Pune - Swach Pune Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit (also known as Solid Waste Collection and Handling, or SWaCH) sent bagfuls of soiled sanitary napkins to corporate offices of top feminine hygiene product manufacturers- Procter and Gamble, Hindustan Unilever, Johnson and Johnson, and Kimberly Clark Lever.

Problem - Occupational hazard

Handling soiled sanitary napkins exposes waste pickers to disease-causing microorganisms E coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, HIV and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus.

Waste pickers, most of whom work without any protective gear, are aware of the hazards. They often cut themselves with broken glass and sharp pieces of metal in the waste.

Problem - Environmental burden - disposal

Huge number
More than 90 per cent of a sanitary napkin is made of crude oil plastic; the rest is made of chlorine-bleached wood or cotton pulp. Under the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules of 2000, soiled napkins are considered part of non-recyclable household waste and are to be incinerated. The informal practice of burning soiled napkins in the open releases toxic gases like dioxins and furans. But most napkins end up in landfills because waste pickers are too put off by the waste to handle them. Neither method is a safe or sustainable way to dispose of soiled napkins.

Due to the heavy use of polymers, the products are non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. They pose severe environmental threats.

Companies’ neglect


In January, sanitary napkin manufacturers were invited to a consultation by Pune Mayor Vaishali Bankar and commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Mahesh Pathak. The companies once again did not respond.

After the protest staged by SWaCH on March 8, representatives from Feminine and Infant Hygiene Association (FIHA) called a meeting with SWaCH.

At the meeting, joint commissioner of the solid waste management department of PMC, Suresh Jagtap, explained that the burden of handling and processing post-consumer waste is being borne by waste pickers and the municipality. He asked FIHA members to develop disposal alternatives so that waste pickers do not have to handle such waste. He also requested manufacturers of sanitary products to develop a proposal with concrete steps for disposal of the soiled items.

The FIHA president refused to speak on the issue of disposal of sanitary napkins.

Consumer behavior - Use and throw
With no means for safe disposal, most women hide soiled napkins in newspaper or polythene bags in corners of the bathroom or storeroom, and discard them outdoors or in a garbage dump. A Delhi home-maker, was horrified to find her five-year-old son emptying a bag of soiled napkins hidden under the toilet cistern. “I washed his hands with antiseptic, but I was really scared. There are so many germs in used sanitary napkins. I have started throwing pads in the drain outside our house,” she says.

Major problems for the drainage system of cities - Used sanitary napkins and condoms clog sewage pipelines and hinder the proper flow of waste water.

As many as 0.25 million used sanitary napkins are discarded in Pune every day. They either choke drainage pipelines or litter footpaths.

The survey also indicated that 63 per cent of women do not have any provision for disposing of sanitary napkins at their workplaces. A similar survey by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BSSWB) found that the main reason sanitary napkins are flushed down toilets is that women feel uneasy disposing of them in garbage bins.

Dubious classification
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has classified sanitary napkins as municipal solid waste. According to the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, soiled napkins, diapers, blood-soaked cotton and condoms are considered household waste, and are disposed of after segregation into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components. However, items contaminated with blood and body fluids, including cotton, dressings, soiled plaster casts, lines and bedding, are considered bio-medical waste and under the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, should be incinerated, autoclaved or microwaved to destroy pathogens.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the virus that causes both Hepatitis B and C is very hardy and can survive in a drop of blood, body fluid or on a dry surface for weeks, and still be virulent - must be assumed that any and all soiled feminine care products may contain blood-borne pathogens.

However, the head of hazardous waste division of CPCB, Vinod Babu, says, “Sanitary napkins are not biomedical waste. It is body fluid. If it is categorized under biomedical waste, then spit and urine should also be. That would complicate the rules.”

Handling soiled sanitary napkins exposes waste pickers to disease-causing microorganisms E coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, HIV and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus. Same is also said by chief of laboratory of virology at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi.

Waste pickers, most of whom work without any protective gear, are aware of the hazards. They often cut themselves with broken glass and sharp pieces of metal in the waste.

Producers Responsibility
The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, include certain provisions of Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR). These provisions make producers responsible for the end of life of the products and the financing and organising of an environmentally sound system for the management of waste generated from the products.

Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS) suggested including a disposable, biodegradable bag with each pack of sanitary napkins and diapers as part of the companies’ EPR.

Better options

A Delhi-based firm, Washroom Hygiene Concepts, installs and maintains units designed for the disposal of used sanitary towels and tampons. The units can be installed in the washrooms of offices, schools and other institutions. Employees collect the discarded napkins and the waste is incinerated.

A more sustainable solution would be to manufacture biodegradable or recyclable sanitary napkins. In 2007, Amita Malik of Delhi-based Shriram Institute for Industrial Research developed a technology that uses bamboo pulp in the manufacture of sanitary pads. Bamboo pulp can be composted, is 300 per cent more absorbent and safer than wood pulp. This is a pilot project and the product is not yet being mass manufactured. In 2012, a research group from IIT Madras started to develop a biodegradable sanitary napkin, without the outer casing of non-woven plastic. Another start-up enterprise, Azadi, claims to have developed a 100 per cent biodegradable, low-cost sanitary napkin.

With increasing consumer awareness, biodegradable or recyclable sanitary napkins, coupled with an efficient disposal system, could go a long way in reducing the burden on waste pickers as well as the environment.

Indian Middle Class are 25% of population - should be called elite

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/why-indian-elites-like-to-call-themselves-middle-class/?smid=fb-share

Summary
We consider ourselves middle class, though we are not anywhere close to the middle of this country in income or standard of living.
25 percent of Indians in the middle class, among 1.2 billion population.

The elite in many parts of the world do not like to be called the elite - In UK they called themselves the nobility; in current American discourse, the elite are called the job creators. In India, the elite call themselves middle class.

India’s elite has devised the middle-class narrative to capture more public resources in subsidies, often at the cost of the country’s poor millions - using influence in policy formulation, government’s allocation of funds and media amplification.

e.g diesel subsidies. Farmers consume 12 to 18 percent of these subsidies – rich farmers can afford tractors or pumps – majority of the small farmers hardly use any diesel.
A government panel report last year called diesel subsidies a “major contributor to India’s fiscal deterioration”.

The elite capture of India’s subsidies take a toll on the country’s poorest, who genuinely need the discount for subsistence. Food Security Bill highlights this problem.
This year’s budget waived about $12 billion in customs duties on the import of gold, silver and jewelry.

India is going through its own version of the American Gilded Age. The Gilded Age (1865-1900) was marked by fast economic growth, business corruption and cronyism, a shift from agriculture to industry, rapid urbanization and the surge of a new middle class. This was followed by the Progressive Era, a time of cleansing the system, ousting the corrupt and channeling private wealth into social causes. Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican) and Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat), received wide support from middle-class professionals to weed out the corruption of the Gilded Age, to bring about major reforms in education and economic policies that gave more Americans a level playing field to prosper.

With only 25 percent of Indians in the middle class and hundreds of millions impatient to break into the zone, both the barons and the masses have incentives to glide on the gilded turf for a few more years.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Why is Science Behind a Paywall? - restricted access to published research papers - by Alex Mayyasi

http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/50096804256/why-is-science-behind-a-paywall

The Internet was created to help scientists share their research, but not used fully by them !!!

Summary

Model (developed in response to 17th century problems):
  • Publicly funding research 
  • Act of publishing - sharing your research with the world, publishing it in academic journals 
  • Private companies buy and profit from copyrights as publishers of new scientific knowledge (from 1960s). Most published papers sit behind pay-walls.
  • University libraries account for 80% of their customers 
  • Scientists (consistent pattern) - apply for grants, perform research, publish results in journal
  • Scientists’ most important qualification today is their publication history. 
Journals transitioned from a means to publish findings to take on the role of a marker of prestige. Scientists’ most important qualification today is their publication history.  

Subscription of journals
  • An article is published in only one journal. Researchers ideally want access to every article in their field, so libraries bought subscriptions no matter the price.
  • Journals charge thousands of dollars per subscription.Subscription costs have risen dramatically over the past generation.
  • Increase in costs are the result of the consolidation of journals by private companies.
  • Publishers acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals
  • Providers bundle journals together - this forces libraries to buy less prestigious journals to gain access to indispensable offerings. 
  • There is no set cost for a bundle, instead providers like Elsevier structure plans in response to each institution’s past history of subscriptions.

Data, facts
  • When comparing on the basis of the price per citation (an indicator of a paper’s quality and influence), non-profit papers do more than 5 times better.
  • Elsevier profit margins of 36%, average of 4%-5% for the periodical publishing business. 
  • From 1984 to 2002, the price of science journals increased nearly 600%. Elsevier prices are 642% higher than industry average.
  • In April 2012, the Harvard Library stated that their subscriptions to academic journals were financially untenable.
Systemic problem
- brand value of publishing in new Open access journals vs others, and career of researchers tied to it.
 
If universities source the funding for research, and its researchers perform both the research and peer review, why don’t they all switch to OA journals?
Some notable successes of the Public Library of Science’s well-regarded open access journals.

However, current scientific culture makes it hard to switch.

History of publication in prestigious journals is a prerequisite to every step on the career ladder of a scientist. There is a trade-off in submitting paper to a new, unproven OA journal, or renowned brand.
 

Even if a tenured or idealistic professor is willing to sacrifice in the name of science, what about their PhD students and co-authors for whom publication in a prestigious journal could mean everything?

Problems, criticism
Critics - professors, library administrators, PhD students, independent researchers, science companies
Over profiting is only one part of the scientific process that needs to be fixed. 
  • Subscriptions limit access to scientific knowledge.
  • Prices are increasing at a time when the Internet has made it cheaper and easier than ever before to share information.
  • Even world’s wealthiest university cannot afford access to new scientific knowledge - even though universities are responsible for funding and performing that research. 
  • The bigger problem - scientists have not fully utilized the Internet to share, collaborate, and invent new ways of doing science.
  • Universities are paying for research that they themselves produced. Universities fund research with grants and pay the salaries of the researchers behind every paper. Even peer review is performed on a volunteer basis by professors whose salaries are paid by universities.
  • Costs of Closed Publishing: The Reinhart-Rogoff Paper - most important technical flaws are uncovered after papers are published
  • Current journal system slows down the publication of science research - Peer review (1 month), Papers rewritten - half a year. While quality control is necessary, thanks to the Internet, articles don’t need to be in a final form before they appear.
  • Experiments that fail are just as important to publish as successful ones. The scientific community lacks an efficient way to learn about dis-proven hypotheses. Worse, it encourages researchers to cherry pick their data and express full confidence in a conclusion that the data and their gut may not fully support. But journals could not remain prestigious if they published failed experiments.
  • Moving to open access journals would expand access to scientific knowledge, but if it preserves the idolization of the research paper, then the work of science reformers is incomplete. 
  • When careers are made and tenures earned by publishing in prestigious journals, then sharing data-sets, collaborating with other scientists, and crowd-sourcing difficult problems are all dis-incentivized.
However, current scientific culture makes it hard to switch to open access journals.

Solution
  • Use internet to share research and collaborate in the discovery making process. No reason for research teams to work in silos and share their findings according to the publishing schedules of journals.
  • Advocates of open science present a strong case that the idolization of publishing articles in journals has resulted in too much secrecy, too many false positives, and a slowdown in the rate at which scientific discoveries are made. Only by changing the culture and incentives among scientists can a system of openness and collaboration be fostered.

There is a simple solution: open access journals.
  • Like traditional journals, they accept submissions, manage a peer review process, and publish. But they charge no subscription fees - they make all their articles available free online.
  • Unlike traditional journals, which claim exclusive copyright to the paper for publishing it, open access (OA) journals are free of almost all copyright restrictions.
One game changer would be governments mandating that publicly financed research be made publicly available.
  • Every year the United States government provides over $60 billion in public grants for scientific research. In 2008, Congress mandated (over furious opposition from private publishers) that all research funded through the National Institute of Health, which accounts for 50% of government funding of science, be made publicly available within a year.
  • Extending this requirement to all other research financed by the government would go a long way for OA publishing. 
  • This is true of similar efforts by the British and Canadian governments, which are in the midst of such steps.
A Scientific Process for the 21st Century
Banyan, a startup whose core mission is open science.
They want to go after peer review
Lots of people still print their papers and [physically] give them to professors for review or put them in Word documents that have no software compatibility.
Banyan recently launched a public beta version of their product - tools that allow researchers to share, collaborate on, and publish research. The basis of this is that scientists will go open source if given simple, beneficial tools.

New tools facilitating an open culture of sharing and collaboration - arXiv, which allows physicists to share “preprints” of their papers before they are published. This facilitates feedback on ongoing work and disseminates findings faster.

Another practice he advocates - publishing all data and source code used in research projects along with their papers - has long been called for by scientists and could be accomplished within the journal framework.

New tools that don’t yet exist - A system of wikis, for example, that allow scientists to maintain perfectly up to date “super-textbooks” on their field for reference by their fellow researchers.
An efficient system for scientists to benefit from the expertise of scientists in other fields when their research “gives rise to problems in areas” in which they are not experts.

Until scientists have clear incentives to contribute to them.
Since publication history is all too often the sole metric by which a scientist’s work is judged, a scientist who primarily assembles data sets for others to use or maintains a public wiki of meta-knowledge of the field will not progress in his or her career.
Addressing this issue - open spirit amongst coders working on open-source software - There is no reward system right now for open science. Scientists’ careers don’t benefit from it. But in software, everyone wants to see your GitHub account.

Talented coders who could make good money freelancing often pour hours of unpaid work into open-source software, which is free to use and adapt for any purpose. On one hand, many people do so to work on interesting problems and as part of an ethos of contributing to its development. But coders also benefit personally from open-source work because the rest of the field recognizes its value.

Employers look at their open-source work via their GitHub accounts (by publicly showing their software work, it can effectively function as a resume), and people generally respect the contributions people make via open-source projects and sharing valuable tips in blog posts and comments. It’s the exact type of open pursuit that you would expect in science. But we see it more in Silicon Valley because it is valued and benefits people’s careers.

My solutions/thoughts:
Sharing of meta-information for research (in SE)
Ability to publish in more than one journal - competition among publishers to promote and earn!


History
The Creation of Academic Journals
Into the 17th century, scientists often kept their discoveries secret. Public funding of research and its distribution in scholarly journals began at this time, allowing scientists to pursue their research in a stable, funded environment. By subsidizing research, they hoped to aid its creation and dissemination for society’s benefit.
Academic journals developed in the 1660s as an efficient way for the new academies to spread their findings. At the time, the market for scientific articles was small and publishing a major expense. Scientists gave away the articles for free because the publisher provided a great value in spreading the findings at very little profit. When the journals market became more formal, almost all publishers were nonprofits, often associated with research institutions. Up until the mid 20th century, profits were low and private publishers rare.

Universities have since replaced academies as the dominant scientific institution. Due to the rising costs of research (think linear accelerators), governments replaced individual patrons as the biggest subsidizer of science, with researchers applying for grants from the government or foundations to fund research projects. And journals transitioned from a means to publish findings to take on the role of a marker of prestige. Scientists’ most important qualification today is their publication history.

Today many researchers work in the private sector, where the profit incentives of intellectual property incentivize scientific discovery.

But outside of research with immediate commercial applications, the system developed in the 1600s has remained a relative constant. This system facilitated a scientific culture which to this day rewards the sharing of discoveries with jobs and prestige for the discoverer.

The Monopolization of Science
The Harvard Library singled out one group as primarily responsible for the problem: “certain publishers to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals.”

The most famous of these providers is Elsevier, Reed Elsevier Group - its parent company - 495th largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization.

Companies like Elsevier developed in the 1960s and 1970s. They bought academic journals from the non-profits and academic societies that ran them, successfully betting that they could raise prices without losing customers. Today just three publishers, Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, account for roughly 42% of all articles published in the $19 billion plus academic publishing market for science, technology, engineering, and medical topics.