Skip to the Main Content

Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

January 6, 2010

What You’re Doing is Good for You

Posted by Tom Leinster

Like a foodstuff that’s both delicious and nutritious, making your articles open access is not only morally upstanding, but also gets you cited more:

Yassine Gragouri et al, Self-selected or mandated, open access increases citation impact for higher quality research.

Unfortunately it’s hidden behind a paywall. No, of course it’s not; it’s on the arXiv. The title pretty much says it all (and probably won’t come as a surprise). The ‘self-selected or mandated’ part is explained in the abstract…

Abstract:

Articles whose authors make them Open Access (OA) by self-archiving them online are cited significantly more than articles accessible only to subscribers. Some have suggested that this “OA Advantage” may not be causal but just a self-selection bias, because authors preferentially make higher-quality articles OA. To test this we compared self-selective self-archiving with mandatory self-archiving for a sample of 27,197 articles published 2002–2006 in 1,984 journals. The OA Advantage proved just as high for both. Logistic regression showed that the advantage is independent of other correlates of citations (article age; journal impact factor; number of co-authors, references or pages; field; article type; or country) and greatest for the most highly cited articles. The OA Advantage is real, independent and causal, but skewed. Its size is indeed correlated with quality, just as citations themselves are (the top 20% of articles receive about 80% of all citations). The advantage is greater for the more citeable articles, not because of a quality bias from authors self-selecting what to make OA, but because of a quality advantage, from users self-selecting what to use and cite, freed by OA from the constraints of selective accessibility to subscribers only.

 

Posted at January 6, 2010 7:46 PM UTC

TrackBack URL for this Entry:   http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/cgi-bin/MT-3.0/dxy-tb.fcgi/2149

23 Comments & 0 Trackbacks

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

When some of the federal states of Germany introduced tuition fees a couple of years ago, one of the key arguments was that “in a capitalistic system something that does not cost anything is not appreciated”. I never liked that kind of argument, and I would very much like to know who came up with it, and why some politicians kept on using it - it seems to ignore the crucial role that fun, intellectual adventuresomeness and social capital play in academia.

Hypothetical question: If I told John that I got his books “An Introduction to Algebraic and Constructive Quantum Field Theory” and “Gauge Fields, Knots, and Gravity” illegaly as djvu-download from the internet, would he try to sue me or would he be glad that I’m interested in reading them?

Posted by: Tim vB on January 7, 2010 9:52 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

I think we all know the answer to that… but who knows, maybe John has a hidden litigious streak.

Djvu is a wonderful thing. It’s very useful to have electronic copies of books, even if you own a physical copy too. That way, it’s always there with you wherever you take your laptop (or iPhone, if you’re that kind of guy, and if they can handle djvu).

The other way round, I have bought books of which I already had a free electronic copy, because if I’m going to use a book heavily then it’s worth the money. When I’m not travelling, I find proper books significantly more convenient than electronic files. Even a printout isn’t as good as a book, unless I take the trouble to bind it properly — and in that case, unless the book is extortionately priced or out of print, I might as well just buy it.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on January 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

e-Ink is the Way of the Future. (-:

Posted by: Mike Shulman on January 7, 2010 3:38 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Tim vB wrote:

If I told John that I got his books “An Introduction to Algebraic and Constructive Quantum Field Theory” and “Gauge Fields, Knots, and Gravity” illegally as djvu-download from the internet, would he try to sue me or would he be glad that I’m interested in reading them?

In the case of “An Introduction to Algebraic and Constructive Quantum Field Theory”, I’d point out that it’s not illegal to get the book in djvu when the publishers have allowed the author to give it away free on his website.

In the case of “Gauge Fields, Knots, and Gravity”, where no such agreement exists, I would say you are being naughty — so you should do something good for the world, to pay back your karmic debt.

Posted by: John Baez on January 7, 2010 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Actually that was a trick question: A true capitalistic mathematical physicist would of course do both.

Posted by: Tim vB on January 7, 2010 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Correlation with quality? I wonder how that was measured?

Posted by: jim stasheff on January 7, 2010 2:08 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Unless I got it wrong, the authors don’t define “quality”, they just state that they are aware that open access articles are cited more, and that this effect could be a result from authors tending to make papers open access that the authors themselves deem to be of higher quality.

This would not happen if the authors are mandated to make all their papers open access by the institution they work for, and one of the main point of the paper is to test if this has any effect (the conclusion is that this effect is not big enough to explain the higher citation rates of the open access papers).

Posted by: Tim vB on January 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

h-index is Good for You

Has anyone looked at Hirsch: Does the h-index have predictive power?
arXiv:0708.0646v2

Posted by: jim stasheff on February 17, 2010 6:52 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Notice that main providers of e-book readers do not support djvu and some other standard format: wiki tables of e-paper displays

They even tend to invent their own format in order to plan some sort of monopole with their prepaid services (newspapers and books in their proprietory formats). This said it is especially true for the unduly popular Amazon’s Kindle which is among the worst in such efforts. It seems that djvu is considered some sort of Wilde West format, despite that it is superb in its scalability, formatting compression, double-layer technology and that it is produced by a top researchers of Bell Labs. There are even e-book readers which support several format but NOT plain text!

Posted by: Zoran Skoda on January 7, 2010 4:17 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

That’s the main reason I did not buy an e-book reader yet. I still have the hope that sooner or later a kind soul writes an open source converter (there are some commercial converters from djvu to pdf, I think, but I did not try them).

Posted by: Tim vB on January 7, 2010 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

My free djview on Linux has a “print” command that can print to a PDF file. And my iLiad eBook reader can read PDF files, zoom in on them, turn them landscape, and make notes on them with a stylus. Supposedly there is actually a port of a djvu viewer to the iLiad as well, but I haven’t been able to get it working yet.

Posted by: Mike Shulman on January 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Is DjVu better than PDF? If given the option, and with no other information other than filesize, I prefer a PDF download (even though it’s larger) since I usually find that I can search the text in the PDF. (But that depends on how it was made; a file printed from a DjVu source doesn’t work.)

Posted by: Toby Bartels on January 7, 2010 11:37 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

I’ve recently come into possession of a number of DjVU texts, and my biggest complaint is that I can’t find a decent reader for OS X.

PDFs in preview are great. I can even read them on facing pages, like a real book. But the only DjVU readers I can find are abysmal. They’re slow memory hogs, they don’t have any sort of decent keyboard interface (arrows to navigate pages, anyone?), I can only see one page at a time, and the image quality is terrible (though that might be the format).

Unfortunately, exporting them to PDFs makes enormous files. Like, by factors of 2 or 3 at a minimum, and one book of a few hundred pages managed to come out at almost 200MB when converted to a PDF.

Of course, if anyone has a DjVU reader for OS X that isn’t terrible, or a converter that doesn’t produce bloated PDFs, I’d be glad to hear of it.

Posted by: John Armstrong on January 8, 2010 12:02 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

The enormous advantage of DjVu over every other format that I know is the file size. I have a >1000 page scanned document that takes up only 8 megabytes. The quality is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s scanned at two pages to a page, if you see what I mean, so it’s actually a >2000 page document.

I shudder to imagine the file size if it had been scanned to PDF. Last time I scanned something, it was a 27 page document (not colour) and took up 13 megabytes. Admittedly the resolution is better than it needs to be, but still.

So, I’m not surprised that when you converted a smallish DjVu file to PDF, it came out enormous.

It’s true that the DjVu viewer I have (djview for Linux) isn’t the best. It feels like an early version of a program in development, in that it’s lacking features. I assumed that was just my laziness in not going to get the latest version or look for a more polished viewer.

Oh, and the other advantage of DjVu is that if you ever find yourself wanting to download scanned books off Russian websites, that seems to be the format most of them are in.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on January 8, 2010 12:16 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

The reader I use on Linux is djview4, which supposedly has a Mac version (I haven’t tried it, though). (Tom, are you using v3 or v4?) It seems reasonably quick to me, can view on facing pages, navigate with arrows, and the quality is great. In fact, I routinely convert poorly scanned PDFs into DjVus because they look better that way.

According to Wikipedia, DjVu can contain an OCRed text layer, just like PDF, so that you could in theory search the text. Djview4 has an interface that claims to be able to search DjVu files, but I can’t test it since none of my DjVu files have this layer—I assume they were produced from scans that nobody bothered to OCR. But I don’t think it’s an inherent limitation of the format.

Posted by: Mike Shulman on January 8, 2010 3:27 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Most of the djvu files I have are searchable in some of the djvu viewers I use (I use at least 3 different computers on dialy basis); cut and paste works even if you do the symbols of different kind, like cyrillic which in my experience cut and paste with much lower error rate from djvu scans than from pdf scans. Different djvu viewers are different in performance; and standalones are usually faster than the plugins for browsers. In the conversion from djvu to pdf you loose some quality, it is always good to have original whatever it was. We should look for multiformat viewers not for permanent converters, which tend to produce secondary trash, being commercial or open.

The size difference between djvu and pdf originals is bigger for higher resolutions. Djvu’s are always bad for scan resolutions below 200 dpi. One of the advantages of djvu is that the information is stored page by page, and the pages can always be combined freely; in pdf this is not always so. Djvu’s on the internet are of varous qualities. Those produced from tiff scans are very good, those which passed through intermediate pdf format are naturally worse.

Posted by: Zoran Skoda on January 10, 2010 10:28 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

PDFs can be split into pages and recombined. The commandline programs pdftk does that for you on Linux. From the manpage:

If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover, hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses.

The webpage is pdftk

Resizing, n-up, merging, etc are all possible with that and with other open source tools (see, for example, my list of “How Did I Do Thats” on this).

Posted by: Andrew Stacey on January 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

According to the experts, I read, these splittings pdfs into pages are not (for all files) error free; it works for simple documents but there are documents where some global (= not within page) information will be lost in this process. Maybe I was naive when reading the manuals; you probably know better what they mean. Djvu has no global information so this can not be an issue.

Posted by: Zoran Skoda on January 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Thanks for the answers.

Posted by: Toby Bartels on January 11, 2010 2:48 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

By the way: if you ever want to make a delicious dish seem unappetizing, call it a ‘foodstuff’.

Posted by: John Baez on January 7, 2010 4:55 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

I can not imagine that the name for food would influence my appetite in any sense (as much as I learned the lower level of society one goes the food is more tasty). I know that in American culture propaganda and advertising makes your sensibility different but I do not buy the argument.

Posted by: Zoran Skoda on January 11, 2010 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Colorless Green Ideas; Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Does the color of your food influence your appetite? There’s a classic Psychology experiment, using a standard American steak dinner, with all the food colored with vegetable dye the same extreme color – yellow, blue, black, etc., and that does affect the eater’s subjective evaluation, although taste and smell are unchanged. The name is less tangible than color. But motivates my question to you. I agree about food and sex propaganda in American advertizing, but think that there is more going on here.

Posted by: Jonathan Vos Post on January 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Colorless Green Ideas; Re: What You’re Doing is Good for You

Color does. Nice to cite Chomsky, by the way.

Posted by: Zoran Skoda on January 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Post a New Comment