The transition to Open Access is not up to publishers, it is up to scholars, a reply to Inchcoombe

In his recent A faster path to an open future, Steven inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer at Spring Nature, describes the publisher’s ideas for “the fastest and most effective route to immediate open access (OA). He wants commercial publishers to become drivers of the transition to OA. Comically, we are invited to give feedback on this…

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The jury is still out on moralizing gods, but the initial response by Whitehouse and Francois is not encouraging

The latest salvo in the saga of the moralizing gods comes from Whitehouse and Francois. Following two critiques of their recent Nature paper on the role of moralizing gods in the evolution of large, complex societies, one by Beheim et al. and one by Slingerland et al., they have posted a preliminary response on co-author…

Complex societies and moralizing gods: Is cultural evolution Darwinian or Lamarckian?

Whitehouse et al. ignited a bit of a controversy with their recent Nature paper which concludes that “Complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world history”. Their argument is that “belief in morally concerned supernatural agents culturally evolved to facilitate cooperation among strangers in large-scale societies”. They use a very large database to suggest that moralizing…

What do commercial publishers actually contribute to scholarly publishing? An interaction with mrgunn

Last week, I became involved in a brief Twitter discussion with mrgunn (William Gunn), Director of Scholarly Communications at Elsevier, about how and to what extent commercial publishers such as Elsevier actually contribute to the production of academic journals. This is an important question, because commercial publishers often justify their profits by claiming that they…