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New ASCE Manual of Practice on Surveying and Geomatics

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GeeOddMike
(@geeoddmike)
1,000+ posts Member

Received an email from NGS announcing the subject MOP. The site address for the publication is: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/book/10.1061/9780784416037?utm_medium=email&utm_source=GovDelivery

NGS email announcement and publication cost (both ebook and printed cost the same) copied below:

My two cents on this …

Of the three editors, two are NGS employees. NGS both promotes and was involved in the publication. Not having read the publication, I cannot say whether it is a worthy contribution to the literature.

I do know that while I will likely buy it, I resent having to pay these high prices for the product of government employees. I have previously complained about the failure of government employees to publish journal articles using the “Free Access” option.

I did notice that John Hamilton was shown as one of the reviewers. Perhaps he might pipe in on the merits of the publication?

Academic and professional publishers who rely on a system where they pay neither the authors nor reviewers (who often need to publish as part of tenure or other professional reasons), yet charge high fees for subscriptions or book purchases.

Spoiled by free access to journals in my former roles, I find the cost of journal articles and the like to be onerous.Perhaps I’m just cheap.

If NGS considers support for this publication to be part of its work to encourage and facilitate use of the NSRS, perhaps they should consider who will buy the text. NGS has previously published manuals many of which are available for free download.  

In closing, charging the same for an eBook and a soft copy printed version is ridiculous even if the electronic version has navigation features.  

Rant over,

 

DMM

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 2, 2022 12:18 pm
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Peter Lothian
(@peter-lothian)
500+ posts Member

Considering that 30 years ago, many of my college text books were up in that price range, this cost seems somewhat reasonable. In college, I had no choice over buying the books. At least some I could buy used at a reduced cost. This one is purely at the public's option whether to buy it or not.

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Posted : August 2, 2022 12:52 pm
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Bill93
(@bill93)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @geeoddmike

In closing, charging the same for an eBook and a soft copy printed version is ridiculous even if the electronic version has navigation features.  

Paper copies of a several hundred page book with low distribution have significant base costs before the printer and authors make any money.  But yeah, an ebook is nearly all gross income for somebody.

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Posted : August 2, 2022 1:37 pm
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T Ford
(@t-ford)
50+ posts Member

The publication is being sold through ASCE which is a private, and I assume a non-profit organization.  And is not a governmental agency.  When I purchased a copy of  The Manual of Surveying Instructions which was written by the  Bureau of Land Management I paid for it.  The Bureau is a Federal Agency.  I guess I see no difference than if I purchased something from a State Surveying Association.  I appreciate the efforts that these associations go to in providing publications such as this.

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Posted : August 2, 2022 2:22 pm
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @peter-lothian

this cost seems somewhat reasonable.

Inflation adjusted this cost is comparable to what I was paying for college textbooks in the early '80s. And it is favorably comparable to  Ghilani's Elementary Surveying, and others

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Posted : August 2, 2022 3:47 pm
GeeOddMike
(@geeoddmike)
1,000+ posts Member

FWIW,

While my complaint seems to have interpreted to be the cost, I intended to challenge the use of government workers to provide content for commercial publication. It is inconsistent with past practice where the NGS published manuals of interest to the surveying/geodesy/mapping communities.

Some of the manuals available for free download are shown here:

I will note, as well, that entities like the USACE have an extensive set of manuals available for free download including the USACE NAVSTAR manual available for free download here: https://www.publications.usace.army.mil/USACE-Publications/Engineer-Manuals/u43544q/454D20313131302D312D31303033/

Of course, you could download this “free” USACE manual from ASCE for $35.

See: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/pdf/10.1061/%28ASCE%290733-9453%281983%29109%3A2%2873%29?download=true

As the book’s page on the ASCEweb site includes the abstract for each chapter, it does not list the authors of each chapter. In my original post I mentioned the three editors include two current NGS employees. 

I have been happy to see NGS employees publish journal articles. Less happy to see that the option to publish as “Open Access” has not been pursued. Maybe their budget could be increased for this purpose. See: https://www.degruyter.com/publishing/publications/openaccess  

As for the cost of printing books/manuals/articles for small markets, why not solely provide electronic versions? If you want to print from the file, take it to one of the many printing services who also provide binding services.

Of course, there are always those who like to have impressive looking books on their desks and bookcases. Most likely unread.

I agree that the cost of the manual is consistent with other professional publications. I do not begrudge authors of technical texts their earnings. In fact, I have contacted authors to inform them of pirated digital versions of their works.

 I await clarification.

 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 2, 2022 6:34 pm

OleManRiver
(@olemanriver)
200+ posts Member

@norman-oklahoma Have you read it already. I just got the email on it and already asked the boss (the wife) for my allowance to purchase. I want the book though.. I have almost every ngs publication over the years printed and placed in 3 ring binder’s. Something different about flipping through the pages and removing dust bunnies versus scrolling on computer screen. 

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Posted : August 2, 2022 7:05 pm
GeeOddMike
(@geeoddmike)
1,000+ posts Member

Those with an interest in the academic publishing industry might want to read: https://issues.org/how-academic-science-gave-its-soul-to-the-publishing-industry/

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Topic starter Posted : August 2, 2022 7:15 pm
Jon Payne
(@jon-payne)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @geeoddmike

As the book’s page on the ASCEweb site includes the abstract for each chapter, it does not list the authors of each chapter. In my original post I mentioned the three editors include two current NGS employees. 

In case you are interested in knowing the authors of the sections, clicking the doi link at the bottom of the abstract opens a page with the author of the sections name.  I checked a few sections and at least one was Ghilani.

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Posted : August 3, 2022 7:13 am

Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @olemanriver

Have you read it already...

I'm learning about its existence right along with everyone else here. I agree about having a physical book. Kindle is OK for light reading, but a professional reference text needs to be paper and ink, IMO. Ideally I'd like to have it in both forms.

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Posted : August 3, 2022 7:36 am
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @geeoddmike

While my complaint seems to have interpreted to be the cost, I intended to challenge the use of government workers to provide content for commercial publication.

I'm guessing that those NGS publications happened because people were assigned the work of writing them.

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Posted : August 3, 2022 7:39 am
John Hamilton
(@john-hamilton)
1,000+ posts Member

I purchased the manual several weeks ago, but have not had the chance to read much of it. It lists me as a reviewer but I had a very minor part in the review. And I think the price is very fair for the amount of information that it provides. 

I would consider it to be an excellent textbook for a introductory survey class for Civil Engineers (which should be mandatory for all CE's). A not insignificant percentage of CE's graduate without ever having been exposed to a survey text or course. It has a lot of very good information to be a good reference manual, especially in what I consider to be engineering surveys, which of course is the purpose. And each chapter has references at the end.  

I have an extensive collection of survey texts, and I have not found any of them to be the all-encompassing textbook that some here seem to think exists. The field is way too broad to be able to cover everything in a single book.  

This post was modified 5 days ago by John Hamilton
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Posted : August 3, 2022 8:37 am
Jitterboogie, GeeOddMike, T Ford and 1 people liked

GeeOddMike
(@geeoddmike)
1,000+ posts Member

@jon-payne 

Thanks for the tip about finding the names of chapter authors. Lots of familiar, well-respected names. With chapter lengths running from 6 to 69 pages (and Dr Ghilani’s chapter on the analysis and adjustment of observation errors being only 21 pages) I doubt I’ll add this to my library. 

It appears that only three of the fifteen authors are from the NGS invalidating my original complaint.

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2022 9:23 am
GeeOddMike
(@geeoddmike)
1,000+ posts Member

@norman-oklahoma 

I have had printed and bound some electronic books to satisfy my need to add comments, etc to the margins. 

I prefer electronic books because they are available to me whenever and wherever I am. With a searchable index they are arguably easier to navigate.

As I commented elsewhere in this thread, the chapters in the text are not long. Hopefully they are long enough. I have my doubts, for example, that a 21-page treatment of the analysis and adjustment of observation errors can cover what I consider necessary. Of course, I always seem to babble on…

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2022 9:53 am
Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @geeoddmike

I have had printed and bound some electronic books to satisfy my need to add comments, etc to the margins. 

I have put some of my printed textbooks on the scanner to produce pdf versions. It doesn't take as long as you might think. 

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Posted : August 3, 2022 11:20 am

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