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Fair or Not

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by Little Ghostman, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Something recently came up and I got a official warning at school, this isnt a poor me thing. But it might be interesting to hear views on it, actually the teacher that reported me did so because they had little choice. They personally think the rule is wrong and not the action, technically what I did was seen as illegal but it does raise a few questions.

    Just in case some dont know about the system of journals etc he is a quick run down. The journal paper in question was science related.
    When you publish a paper, the Journal CHARGES the person publishing ALOT of money to publish the paper. Most even charge extra if you want to put more than X number of graphs in for example.

    Some journals charge depending on membership level, so a person who is a silver member might pay £20k a year for the membership, but only £200 to publish a paper Non members or actually subscribers, may have to pay over £1000 per paper to have it published. Obviously prices vary widely and mostly depend on the ranking of the journal, so getting something published in Nature would likely cost a great deal.

    You do also have open access papers, but most journals still charge the paper author to publish it. Now lets say you go online and see a paper you want to read, for most people who are not in college or University the paper will cost something like £35 each (most science papers anyway). Yearly subscription to the journal is for normal people can be literally thousands. So the publishers charge both the author and the reader for the paper.

    Science is supposed to be about sharing knowledge, according to my IT teacher the internet was made to share knowledge more easily. Now the paper in question downloaded legally by me, I used my school login and got the paper for school work I was doing. I printed it out to take home, all good so far. I used the paper in my work and referenced it.

    Now the illegal bit, I am a technically a S5, but I am in the S6 class, so a 6th former. 6th formers have journal access in the library, but lower years dont (it costs too much). A friend saw the paper and asked to read it, I let him and he used it for his Biology project. Because he used alot of it he put a note on his work that the info came X paper from Y journal.

    Anyway His teacher asked him where he got the paper from as he is a S5, he told him and the teacher checked the library records. I was the only person to download the paper, so I was asked if I had given him a copy. I said yes I lent him the copy I had printed off.

    So what did I get in trouble for? COPY WRITE infringement!! But I dont get that, I was entitled to download the paper and to print it. So why is not ok to then let someone else read the paper copy?? Sure if I printed two then I might just about understand it. But say I go buy a magazine, no one has a problem if I lend it out, no one really blinks an eye if I photo copy an article to share.

    So what is so special about journals, that sharing information that is supposedly meant to be shared, is classed as theft!! I got a smacked wrist and a record note, I also lost the login ability for one term. My own view is I would do it again and I see nothing I did as wrong. Keep in mind only one copy was ever printed and no one photocopied the paper copy.

    So is this fair and just, or publishers ripping off people. I am just interested in how people view this kind of thing.
     
  2. hexreader

    hexreader Member

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    Not necessarily fair, not much in life is, but life is much easier if you comply with rules, even the grossly unfair ones.

    Most unfair rules are not important enough to worry about, but just a few might be. Even fighting against important injustices is pointless if there is little chance of achieving a victory.

    If you have broken a rule, then you have broken a rule. There is no defence (except maybe that you did it unwittingly) and there is certainly no defence for repeating the offence.

    If it had been me, I would have apologised and learned not to do it again. Might offend your sensibilities, but why get angry over something that does not matter and that you cannot change?

    Pick your battles wisely.

    .... those are my thoughts. You don't have to agree.

    "Science is supposed to be about sharing knowledge" - great as a philosophical viewpoint, but science needs to be funded, and requires participation of human beings along with all of their imperfections. In real life, Science is far from perfect, and there is far more bad science out there than good science

    "My own view is I would do it again and I see nothing I did as wrong." - Fine - stick to your principles... - eventually you will get used to the bruises on your wrist while you are young, and will get used to being sacked from job after job when you are older.

    .... or you could learn to abide by rules and live a happy, care-free life
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  3. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Hi Hex.

    You kind of misunderstand me, I was punished and that was that. But I thought it interesting that you can buy a magazine and share it no problem, but you cant share a science paper! Science does need to be funded, but journals dont fund science. If anything they are a drain on resources with a few publishers owning most content. If the scientist got paid by the journal then there would IMO, be a case for it. But the scientist who wrote the paper had to pay the journal to publish it, the scientist dosnt get any money from the journal.

    Worse still is some journals wont let the writer give away free copies for 6 months of publication! Although pressure has now made many journals carry a % of open access content. I still dont see it as theft, any more than if I buy and a book and lend it to you. It isnt the right or wrong as such, I was interested in how others would view it. It seems a pretty unique situation to mainly journals.

    So lets say you pay for a song on iplayer, and you play it in your car with other people in. Would you consider that theft as the others havnt paid to hear it? I am not defending anything, I am solely interested in how people view stuff
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. hexreader

    hexreader Member

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    I guess I do.... sorry.
     
  6. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Thats all right, its text, hard to know what people mean sometimes :D.
     
  7. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I know nothing about scientific papers and journals, but, at the place I worked we had copies of "Standards", British standards from the BSI, various Norwegian standards from ?, ANSI standards, you get the idea.

    At the Aberdeen site we had one paper copy of each standard (internet and PDF copies had not taken over at that time).
    The paper copies were kept in "Document Control", a place where master copies of all drawings, schematics, documents etc were held.
    These paper copies were bought ( £ $ Kr etc) from the relevant issuing authority.
    Anybody within the company could go and look at the standards or book it out to take away and study at their desk.

    If one of the other guys had a standard out from doc control, there was nothing stopping me or anyone else from going and having a look at the standard while it was in the possession of the guy who had booked it out. (Just don't take it away and lose it!).

    So if this event is as you have described here, my impression is that someone within the school organisation is (mis)interpreting the rules to some extreme level of absurdity.

    JimB
     
  8. JonSea

    JonSea Well-Known Member

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    The entire access to technical papers is screwed up. Many technical papers are funded through government research. We pay for that research through our taxes. The end result is a technical paper that costs a fortune to access. If it's taxpayer funded, the results should be available free or for a very nominal charge.

    My experience with publishing papers is somewhat different than LGM described. I did a presentation for the Aerospace Division of the ISA (Instrument Society of America) in the days before the prevalence of computers. I had to provide the paper in camera-ready format per their instructions and it was published in the conference proceedings. This was a peer-reviewed paper and there was no charge to have it published aside from the fact that I had to pay to attend the conference even though I was making a presentation.
     
  9. Musicmanager

    Musicmanager Active Member

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    Hello LG

    Oh dear, you do get caught every time don't you ?

    I think your school are trying to teach you an important principle in a very pedantic fashion, viz .. .. .. .

    When you get to University, in between all the usual university social life, you will be required to compose and submit a series of articles, essays based on the study of that particular term or semester, Of course the content will be based on your studies from lectures but also from reading all kinds of text, including Books & Journals.

    Towards the end of each written script you will be required to formally acknowledge the source of any quotations, either literal or 'in essence' through the construction of a Bibliography which is pedantic in it's own right, in that there is a formal protocol concerning the format of the each entry which must be followed.

    Journals are distinguished from published books and magazines in that they are classed as 'Academic Documents' and therefore viewed quite differently and in the Bibliography, whilst a book would be listed according to the accepted protocol, a Journal quote would be listed quite differently along with a proof of your right of access to that text. This may be as simple as stating access via the University Library, but I do know of cases where it has been necessary to append a copy of a receipt for access fees.

    Technically, because your friend quoted from the Journal document, he, like you should have been able to prove his right of access and since only one of you had that right there is a problem. Imagine the problem if half the class had used your article !
    I do think the school is being unreasonable in punishing either of you for the mistake; in my view it would have been more helpful to have explained the problem.

    However, is the matter trivial ? Unfortunately not ... it is likely that if you and your friend were at most UK Universities when this had been discovered, certainly your friend's submitted essay would have been disqualified - no grades awarded; and quite likely, yours also.

    Pedantic -certainly; PITA - definitely; Should be changed - maybe; But these are the rules and we have to abide by them or lose.

    I think this is what the school were trying to demonstrate but went about it in a rather strange way .. .. .. .

    S

     
  10. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

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    Journals sound to run the same sort of operation as record companies. Not a favourable comparison...
     
  11. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Jim I am aware technical docs are handled differently. Being part of a Academy set up, we have 'partners' and sponsors (I think), One is a college, one is the county Uni and one a building company (the company that built the school). So we have access to the college and Uni at certain times, the workshop at the college we use is also used to train mechanics, they have tech docs and those are as you describe, they pay for the doc like you would a book. The rules I guess are the same as for a book, apparently though Journals are a strange beast.

    Music Man.
    Actually you have cleared up three points for me.
    Yes I did a bibliography (wasnt required in this case, but I do it anyway), no I didnt cite the paper different from the way I would a book. So that explains 3 lost marks I couldnt work out.

    My friend dosnt have the same access. In Scotland exam wise you have national 4 and 5 (like GCSE in England), higher s (which are kind of like easier A level's), and advanced higher s. Advanced higher s took me ages to get my head around, in Scotland most degrees are 4 years and not 3 like England. Advanced Higher are equivalent to the first year of a University degree in Scotland.
    So at S5 which we both are you can sit more national 5's or do higher s, move into S6 and you normally do highers only or Advanced higher s. While I am grouped as S5 I am actually studying at S6 level having done highers last year I am do some more, and some advanced highers. At S6 level if you take certain classes you get network access to journals via the University system.

    So I have access but my friend dosnt as he is doing S5 level work, the paper was borrowed as he wants to advance like I did. The teacher who asked him simply checked the library to see if the work had come from the paper, the library is the people who started a fuss more than anyone. I dont think my Biology teacher really understands the system either, his view is a bit like mine, Science should be open access in any academic environment.

    But your take on it makes sense, it also sort of explains why the punishment was a bit harsh (loss of access), I think the library looks at my access level as being S5. As I am registered S5 on the system but my logins are S6.

    Anyway interesting takes on it and thanks for the info. It also made me look up which system to use when citing papers! Although apparently from what I have read, your school should tell you which system to use. Looks like I use a mix of two systems!! So I need to sort that out. Next year we have to do bibliographies, this year I dont as the Advanced classes I take wont go forward to the exam board. I didnt want live advanced highers this year, I wanted a dry run so to speak. especially after the mash up last year!!

    In the end its got to come down to money (it always does), I bet the school wont pay for journal access for all years. Or the uni or whoever actually pays for it!
    Maybe because I grew up in England (mostly), I understand that system better. But in England I dont think you have the luxury of doing the first year of a uni coarse at school?? I think the system is set to change yet again up here though, it should affect me personally as I will have left by then :D.
     
  12. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Some seem a real con, especially science material. Oddly though you goto the journal site and have to pay, but many of the papers after 6 months or whatever, can be found FOC on pubmed, and apparently totally legal to download from there, but the journal itself will charge for the paper from its site.

    Sometimes I email authors if its something that really interests me and I cant get it, most are really good and email back a copy.
     
  13. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

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    Oh and speaking of Sturgeons, am I the only one who thinks she's hot?
     
  14. Musicmanager

    Musicmanager Active Member

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    As soon as I started to read your first post, I guessed what was coming because it was a bit close to home .. .. .. .

    When I was doing my Masters, I attended a particular seminar in London and was fortunate enough to sit next to the then Minister of State for Education in Zimbabwe. We were together off and on for three days and at the end of it he invited me to visit his department, which I saw as a huge opportunity because I needed a research assignment subject and that was it, on a plate.
    I played for far too many concerts, church services, weddings, funerals etc. to fund the trip and came back with a huge package of study about the education system
    which was truly something to behold and as a result wrote my research paper with the hope that it would attract at least 4 of the total 11 credits I needed to achieve my award.
    In the course of my script I referred to a document I had bought back with me which was a Gestetner copy of teacher training booklet I found at a TT college in Harare which cited some quite brutal remedies for student misbehaviour ( probably work a treat in the UK ) The document was titled but the author was not identified. I tried hard to locate it, but I failed and ended up citing it with the title & date, 'author unknown'
    One week after submission, I received notice that my script had been disqualified .. why ? .. .. one of the four people on the award panel was the author of the booklet.
    I still think that was very unfair, but them's the rules so I lost. Not permanently however, I was given the opportunity to resubmit after 4 weeks and I simply took the references out and quoted them as 'heresay' !

    I'm not sure I agree with your citing money as the root of the problem.. .. .. .Journals really are a remnant of the history of academia; There was, and still is in some quarters, a huge accolade to having an article publish in a recognised Journal .. think of 'Dr So and So .. he's been published in The Lancet, you know ! ' so Dr So and So was willing to pay a fee for the privilege. Also, Academia would wish to maintain a clear distinction between text for entertainment, in the form of books & magazines which as a limited lasting value; and text for knowledge or learning which continues to hold value. The cost of producing accurate text for learning can be enormous.

    Indeed we do, but it is made slightly more cumbersome by the higher education system.

    Of course, the bottom line of all of this is that age old expression ' You can't beat them, you might as well join them !'

    S
     
  15. Musicmanager

    Musicmanager Active Member

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    Nah, definitely a double bagger ! :)

    S
     
  16. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

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    You contradict yourself, MM. Is it the "Nah" (I'm not the only one) part, or the requirement of two bags?
     
  17. Musicmanager

    Musicmanager Active Member

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    Oh, sorry old chap, Eh? What ? :)
     
  18. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

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    Can't hear me through your bag, eh?
     
  19. Musicmanager

    Musicmanager Active Member

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    Deaf finitely ! :D
     
  20. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Your a very sick puppy!!!

    All I can think to say is..........SHOULD HAVE GONE TO SPEC SAVERS!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. Little Ghostman

    Little Ghostman Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Cheers for the info, yes its a steep learning curve on its own!! I am not sure why we are given access and then not really given much information on using it! The main reason I currently Cite most things and use a bibliography, is purely for the practice. A brother of a friend is at uni, he is second year now and mentioned many times what a nightmare it can be. The other problem is some places seem to rely on moodle plagiarism plugins, some have a really bad reputation for false flags. I wont mention where he is, but one lecturer apparently simply looks for the red highlights in work, he then uses the % chance of plagiarism given by the software.

    I was told the problem is when you click on the results you find stupid flags, things like a say the word 'SUCH', was used in a similar paper written half way around the world by another student, and both are used after 126 words (just an example). obviously there is zero chance that the paper could of been copied, its not published but would be on the moodle plugin system. A good tutor checks the red lines for this kind of rubbish, but he was saying some lecturers are lazy....

    Always my biggest fear, getting accused of cheating after putting all the work in. No comment on the number of times a paper is cited, being used as a badge of honour. I mention it because one author I emailed was clearly a collector of these stats :D.
     

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