Is it reasonable to set variable standards?

Just a quick post on an odd topic.


Years ago, I decided that I should stop “siccing” blog posts when quoting them within Cites & Insights (or elsewhere)–that is, that I should simply correct obvious grammatical and spelling errors (that I spotted) rather than leaving them as errors and adding [sic].

I made an exception, one that’s almost never come into play: If a blogger makes a big point of being a superior writer and of how painstakingly edited their posts are, then [sic] it is. If you claim you’re operating to a higher standard, it’s reasonable to be held to a higher standard.

If you’re wondering, most of my posts here are wholly unedited–the long post yesterday was written and posted within a half hour total.


A FriendFeed person cited a Nature editorial arguing that amateur scientists should be welcomed by professional scientists. (Actually a Twitter message autoimported into FriendFeed.) I “liked” the item, but also read the editorial. And noticed a very obvious word-replacement error, one that any competent human editor would catch but that spellcheck would not.

I noted the error…because Nature Publishing Group has set a $5,000 author-side processing fee for its hybrid OA journals, a fee I regard as ridiculously high. The only justification I can see for such fees is an assertion of extremely high quality markup and editing–a level of editing that couldn’t possibly miss an obvious error in the first paragraph (second sentence) of an article.

You can see the link and the results, including a Nature editor’s grump, here.

Am I wrong?

(Is NPG’s justification for the $5,000 fee really “Because we can”?)

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