Sunday, June 13, 2010

University Defies Nature

The Contra Costa Times reported this little story. Contra Costa County is over the hills East of Berkeley. The University of California is facing serious money problems. Somehow the University and its local papers didn't want to report this.

"University of California librarians are urging professors not to submit research to Nature or 66 related journals to protest a 400 percent increase in the publisher's prices.

"A new contract with Nature Publishing Group would raise the university's subscription costs by more than 1 million, library and faculty leaders wrote in a letter this week to professors throughout the 10-campus system. With recent budget cuts, UC libraries simply can't handle the higher price, which would take effect in 2011, the letter said."

The University of California was ground zero for "dark energy." Though their press claimed the "two independent groups" made the discovery, they were far from independent. One group was led from Lawrence Berkeley Labs. the other group's lead author had offices in Campbell Hall, not 500 meters away. The "independent" groups constantly were in contact checking each other's work.

Discovery of a cosmological constant or "dark energy" was hailed by SCIENCE magazine as "discovery of the year." Funding and praise were expected to flow to researchers if they embraced the Dark Side. Instead the University faces serious budget problems and can't even afford its NATURE subscription. Most people, even astronomers, doubt that DE exists. Going to the Dark Side has led to nothing but trouble.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Instead the University faces serious budget problems and can't even afford its NATURE subscription."

Hyperbole? Perhaps UC can drop a few of their 60+ Nature sub-journal subscriptions. In hard economic times, how many on campus need the latest issue of Nature Reviews Urology?

IMO UC enabled the explosion of Nature sub-journals by subscribing to anything and everything. My former librarian (at another institution) refused to subscribe to the bulk of these journals simply out of principle.

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