Entire Editoral Board Resigns En Masse

From: C. Lee Giles <giles_at_IST.PSU.EDU>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 09:21:59 -0400

Is this just the beginning or an aberration?

> ----------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 14:33:25 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Michael Jordan <jordan_at_CS.Berkeley.EDU>
> To: connectionists_at_cs.cmu.edu, uai_at_ghost.CS.ORST.EDU, bayes-news_at_STAT.cmu.edu,
> gps_at_kdnuggets.com, colt_at_cs.uiuc.edu, community_at_mlnet.org,
> ai-stats_at_watstat.uwaterloo.ca, s-news_at_wubios.wustl.edu
> Subject: letter of resignation from Machine Learning journal
> Dear colleagues in machine learning,
> The forty people whose names appear below have resigned from the
> Editorial Board of the Machine Learning Journal (MLJ). We would
> like to make our resignations public, to explain the rationale for
> our action, and to indicate some of the implications that we see for
> members of the machine learning community worldwide.
> The machine learning community has come of age during a period
> of enormous change in the way that research publications are
> circulated. Fifteen years ago research papers did not circulate
> easily, and as with other research communities we were fortunate
> that a viable commercial publishing model was in place so that
> the fledgling MLJ could begin to circulate. The needs of the
> community, principally those of seeing our published papers circulate
> as widely and rapidly as possible, and the business model of
> commercial publishers were in harmony.
> Times have changed. Articles now circulate easily via the Internet,
> but unfortunately MLJ publications are under restricted access.
> Universities and research centers can pay a yearly fee of $1050 US to
> obtain unrestricted access to MLJ articles (and individuals can pay
> $120 US). While these fees provide access for institutions and
> individuals who can afford them, we feel that they also have the
> effect of limiting contact between the current machine learning
> community and the potentially much larger community of researchers
> worldwide whose participation in our field should be the fruit of
> the modern Internet.
> None of the revenue stream from the journal makes its way back to
> authors, and in this context authors should expect a particularly
> favorable return on their intellectual contribution---they should
> expect a service that maximizes the distribution of their work.
> We see little benefit accruing to our community from a mechanism
> that ensures revenue for a third party by restricting the communication
> channel between authors and readers.
> In the spring of 2000, a new journal, the Journal of Machine Learning
> Research (JMLR), was created, based on a new vision of the journal
> publication process in which the editorial board and authors retain
> significant control over the journal's content and distribution.
> Articles published in JMLR are available freely, without limits and
> without conditions, at the journal's website, http://www.jmlr.org.
> The content and format of the website are entirely controlled by the
> editorial board, which also serves its traditional function of
> ensuring rigorous peer review of journal articles. Finally, the
> journal is also published in a hardcopy version by MIT Press.
> Authors retain the copyright for the articles that they publish in
> JMLR. The following paragraph is taken from the agreement that every
> author signs with JMLR (see www.jmlr.org/forms/agreement.pdf):
> You [the author] retain copyright to your article, subject only
> to the specific rights given to MIT Press and to the Sponsor [the
> editorial board] in the following paragraphs. By retaining your
> copyright, you are reserving for yourself among other things unlimited
> rights of electronic distribution, and the right to license your work
> to other publishers, once the article has been published in JMLR
> by MIT Press and the Sponsor [the editorial board]. After first
> publication, your only obligation is to ensure that appropriate
> first publication credit is given to JMLR and MIT Press.
> We think that many will agree that this is an agreement that is
> reflective of the modern Internet, and is appealing in its recognition
> of the rights of authors to distribute their work as widely as possible.
> In particular, authors can leave copies of their JMLR articles on their
> own homepage.
> Over the years the editorial board of MLJ has expanded to encompass
> all of the various perspectives on the machine learning field, and
> the editorial board's efforts in this regard have contributed greatly
> to the sense of intellectual unity and community that many of us feel.
> We believe, however, that there is much more to achieve, and that
> our further growth and further impact will be enormously enhanced
> if via our flagship journal we are able to communicate more freely,
> easily, and universally.
> Our action is not unprecedented. As documented at the Scholarly Publishing
> and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) website, http://www.arl.org/sparc,
> there are many areas in science where researchers are moving to low-cost
> publication alternatives. One salient example is the case of the
> journal "Logic Programming". In 1999, the editors and editorial
> advisors of this journal resigned to join "Theory and Practice of
> Logic Programming", a Cambridge University Press journal that encourages
> electronic dissemination of papers.
> In summary, our resignation from the editorial board of MLJ reflects
> our belief that journals 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. We are excited about JMLR,
> which provides this access and does so unconditionally. We feel that
> JMLR provides an ideal vehicle to support the near-term and long-term
> evolution of the field of machine learning and to serve as the flagship
> journal for the field. We invite all of the members of the community
> to submit their articles to the journal and to contribute actively to
> its growth.
> Sincerely yours,
> Chris Atkeson
> Peter Bartlett
> Andrew Barto
> Jonathan Baxter
> Yoshua Bengio
> Kristin Bennett
> Chris Bishop
> Justin Boyan
> Carla Brodley
> Claire Cardie
> William Cohen
> Peter Dayan
> Tom Dietterich
> Jerome Friedman
> Nir Friedman
> Zoubin Ghahramani
> David Heckerman
> Geoffrey Hinton
> Haym Hirsh
> Tommi Jaakkola
> Michael Jordan
> Leslie Kaelbling
> Daphne Koller
> John Lafferty
> Sridhar Mahadevan
> Marina Meila
> Andrew McCallum
> Tom Mitchell
> Stuart Russell
> Lawrence Saul
> Bernhard Schoelkopf
> John Shawe-Taylor
> Yoram Singer
> Satinder Singh
> Padhraic Smyth
> Richard Sutton
> Sebastian Thrun
> Manfred Warmuth
> Chris Williams
> Robert Williamson

Dr. C. Lee Giles, David Reese Professor
School of Information Sciences and Technology
and Computer Science and Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University
504 Rider Building, 120 S Burrowes St
University Park, PA, 16801, USA
giles_at_ist.psu.edu - 814 865 7884
Received on Tue Oct 09 2001 - 15:55:28 BST

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