AI News, AI Researchers Are Boycotting Nature’s New Machine Intelligence Journal

AI Researchers Are Boycotting Nature’s New Machine Intelligence Journal

Springer Nature, the publisher of Scientific American and the venerable scientific journal Nature, intends to stride into the white-hot field of machine learning in early 2019 with a new journal called Nature Machine Intelligence.

At the time of writing, the boycott had accumulated more than 2,400 signatures by employees of Google, Facebook, IBM, Harvard, MIT and a cross-section of other prominent institutions—as well as many of the biggest names in artificial intelligence research including neural network pioneers Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio and Google Brain co-founder Jeff Dean.

A spokesperson for Nature Machine Intelligence said that the journal is committed to the principles of open access, pointing to Nature’s policy of allowing authors to post preprint versions of their papers for review on platforms including arXiv, as well as to SharedIt, a program that provides authors with shareable links to published Springer Nature papers that they can freely share on social media for non-commercial purposes.

Online publishing has given rise to predatory journals that take advantage of tenure-conscious professors by publishing papers with little meaningful scrutiny, but it’s also led a generation of researchers like Dietterich to see traditional journals as unnecessary middlemen—as well as giving rise to projects like Sci-Hub and Academic Torrents, which make papers in closed-access journals publicly available in spite of copyrights.

Thousands boycott new Nature journal about machine learning

More than two thousand researchers have signed a petition to boycott a new Nature journal over the fact it will be available only by subscription.

It is particularly important for students and faculty whose universities cannot afford the subscription fees for closed-access journals or cannot afford to pay (as authors) for their papers to be open access.

spokesperson for Nature Machine Intelligence told us: We support the machine learning community’s view that open access and preprint servers, such as arXiv, have important roles in the dissemination of research. At Nature Research we are also achieving this by helping the community to freely share their discoveries by encouraging preprint posting and data- and code-sharing.

We continue to extend access to all Nature journals in various ways, including our free SharedIt content-sharing initiative, which provides authors and subscribers with shareable links to view-only versions of published papers.

Selective journals like Nature Machine Intelligence — which involve substantial editorial development, aim to provide high levels of author service and publish informative, accessible content beyond primary research — require investment.

At present, we believe that the fairest way of producing these journals, which ensures their long-term sustainability as a resource for the widest possible community, is to spread these costs among many readers — instead of having them borne by a few authors.

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Why thousands of AI researchers are boycotting the new Nature journal

Budding authors face a minefield when it comes to publishing their work.

The time it took to disseminate research threw up its own problems: by the time Piazzi’s data were published, the planet had vanished in the sun’s glare.

Gauss, who became Germany’s greatest mathematician, and Piazzi shared their learnings freely, but they accepted the need to pay for the work that von Zach undertook.

In my own field of machine learning, itself an academic descendant of Gauss’s pioneering work, modern data are no longer just planetary observations but medical images, spoken language, internet documents and more.

The results are medical diagnoses, recommender systems, and whether driverless cars see stop signs or not.

The ability to pay no longer determines the ability to play Machine learning is a young and technologically astute field.

What would drive authors and readers towards a for-profit subscription journal when we already have an open model for sharing our ideas?

The diversity and quantity of academic research means that it is difficult for a researcher in one field to rate the work in another.

But in contrast to Rolex, whose staff are responsible for the innovation in its watches, Nature relies on academics to provide its content.

As a result, at the time of writing, more than 3,000 researchers, including many leading names in the field from both industry and academia, have signed a statement refusing to submit, review or edit for this new journal.

Tech Giant AI Researchers Boycott Nature 'Machine Intelligence' Journal

Renowned artificial intelligence (AI) experts from almost all of the tech giants are planning to boycott a new journal from Nature Publishing Group,which is widely regarded as one of the most influentialscience publishers in the world.

Nature's new Machine Intelligence Journal is due to bepublished for the first time in January 2019.Nature said it will cover the 'best research from across the field of artificial intelligence' but it will also be a closed access journal, and this has angered many in the AI community who want to see AI research openly available to everyone.

The statement reads: 'We see no role for closed access or author-fee publication in the future of machine learning research and believe the adoption of this new journal as an outlet of record for the machine learning community would be a retrograde step.

Why Thousands of Researchers Are Boycotting Nature’s Upcoming AI Journal

Early next year, the Springer Nature publishing group will launch a new subscription journal devoted to artificial intelligence.

The new online-only journal, headed by editor-in-chief Liesbeth Venema (previously a physics editor at Nature), will cover the “best research from across the field of artificial intelligence,” and will include research and perspectives from the “fast-moving” fields of AI, machine learning, and robotics.

Journals, according to the statement, should “principally serve the needs of the intellectual community, in particular by providing the immediate and universal access to journal articles that modern technology supports, and doing so at a cost that excludes no one,” adding that “virtually all of the major machine learning outlets...make no charge for access to or publication of papers.” Signatories of the Statement state that they “will not submit to, review, or edit for this new journal.” It’s not yet clear how much access to the new journal will cost, but subscriptions to Nature’s primary journal are currently $199 a year, with single articles costing $22 to buy.

“In short, they have no history of supporting the machine learning research community and instead they are viewed as part of the disreputable ecosystem of people hoping to hype machine learning to make money.” In an op-ed published today in The Guardian, Sheffield University computer scientist Neil Lawrence said researchers in this field have fared well without the need to involve commercial publishers.

At present, we believe that the fairest way of producing highly selective journals like this one and ensuring their long-term sustainability as a resource for the widest possible community, is to spread these costs among many readers—instead of having them borne by a few authors.” The spokesperson said Springer Nature also offers multiple open access options for AI authors, including Scientific Reports and Nature Communications.

It’s unclear if the boycott will affect Nature’s ability to publish a top-tier publication devoted exclusively to machine intelligence, but given how many people are currently engaged in AI research, it’s unlikely to have a significant impact.

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