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Librarian Blog

A sting worth copying

The journal Science has pulled off a major sting operation, thanks to writer John Bohannon.

Bohannon put together a blatantly false scientific paper replete with errors and ethical lapses and sent it to 304 open-access "scientific journals" to see if the paper would be reviewed by peers and, if so, whether they would find the mistakes. Of course, he also wanted to see who would publish without so much as a read-through.

See, the business of publishing papers is just that, a very lucrative business. Scientists have to pay to have their papers published, and they do so because they have to publish or they perish.

More than 150 journals accepted the paper for publication. Only 36 noted the flaws in the submission.

One journal accepted the paper and asked for $3,100 to publish it.

What Bohannon found constitutes a stunning indictment of the scientific open-access journal business.

But ...

But, what about all those journals in political science, sociology, English, history, medicine, physics, etc., that also make researchers pay to publish?

How many of them are suspect?

Every field needs a John Bohannon.

Unfortunately it's just true that if you give people an opportunity to act badly, they will do so.

Drinking THAT Kool-Aid

Long before Jonestown, there was the scene around San Francisco that eventually went coast to coast on a bus of many colors.

Tom Wolfe's account of the trips of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, which featured a Kool-Aid laced with LSD or, as it was known, acid, came out in 1968. It was his first and allegedly best attempt at New Journalism.

Somehow I never read the book back then, but I was heavily involved in reading Shakespeare and the Brownings, among dozens of others, in those undergraduate days.

About two weeks ago, someone dropped the paperback version of "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" off here at the library as a donation, intended to go into the Friends of the Wimberley Village Library book sale this weekend.

I confiscated it and started reading, and I'm really kind of embarassed for Ken and the gang. Talk about feeling entitled. Wowee.

Today I saw in the papers that a first edition of the book signed by a bunch of '60s luminaries is to be sold at auction in California.

The story was accompanied by a photo of what I take to be the bus that Kesey and friends took across country to rip a tear in conventional American life.

They can keep the book. I'd like to buy the bus.

Uninsured in Hays County

Regardless of what the House and Senate do about the national budget, the Affordable Health Care Act is in effect, in part, and becomes fully effective on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The program, despite what you may hear elsewhere, is just for people who don't have insurance, people who are not on Medicaid or Medicare.

In Texas, that's 33 percent of the population or nearly 5 million.

In Hays County, that's 22 percent of the population.

If you are uninsured or know of someone who is uninsured, we can help here at the Wimberley Village Library. We have information that could be of use. And we know how to access information via the Internet. Just drop by.

Tom Clancy

News outlets report today that Tom Clancy died last evening.

No cause has been given. He was only 66.

Clancy was probably best known for the novel "The Hunt for Red October," which was made into a nearly undecipherable movie. I mean you had to read the novel to unravel the plot of the film.

Clancy was a world-class writer. I give him that. But, he badly needed a good editor for the most part.

No books by women?

So, is David Gilmour smart or what?

Gilmour is a professor of literature at the University of Toronto. He was a pathetic unknown until this week when he burst into the big picture by telling an interviewer that he does not and will not teach books written by women, but for only two exceptions.

Niow David Gilmour is everywhere, widely excoriated as a woman-hater. He is the latest twit on Twitter.

Except, that's not the whole story.

The rest is that David Gilmour has also written a novel of his very own and it has just been published. So he and his publisher are not going to spend any of their marketing budget.

Keep that in mind.

Oh, and also this: There are 1.54 million college teachers in the United States alone. Surely, we can let just one hate women writers.