I completely agree with the spirit of the Research Without Walls initiative: research funded by public institutions should be accessible to everybody and not hidden behind paywalls. To change this situation, Research Without Walls asks you to sign this pledge: “Effective ,I will assist in the peer review process (as a reviewer, board/committee member, chair, editor, etc.) only for conferences, journals, and other publication venues that make all accepted publications available to the public for free via the web”

Let me tell you why I will NOT be signing this:

  • I don’t understand why the pledge only involves committing not to review for those conferences/journals but allows to publish in them (well, I do understand, see my second reason). I think not publishing in them would send a much stronger message. It´s much easier to find reviewers than good authors to fill the publication
  • My pragmatic me knows that if I sign this I’d be lying (and so will do many of the active researchers that sign it!). This is one of those very nice (and needed) initiatives that help to reflect on the “scientific business model” (like the stop the numbers game, behind a paywall of course 🙂 ) but that can only be actually followed by people that don’t pursue any scientific promotion (usually because they are already at the top of their career). What we need is to put pressure on the evaluation agencies and governments and make them understand that the model to evaluate a scientific career has to evolve with the times!