How many times have you hit an academic paywall? You're curious about a study, but you'd have to pay an outrageous fee to read it.

Academic publishers profit at the expense of scholars, universities, the public, and the advancement of knowledge.

Academic paywalls mean publish and perish

Individuals who want to use JSTOR must shell out an average of $19 per article. The academics who write the articles are not paid for their work, nor are the academics who review it. The only people who profit are the 211 employees of JSTOR.

Academic publishing is structured on exclusivity. Originally, this exclusivity had to do with competition within journals.

Today, it all but ensures that your writing will go unread.

Discussions of open access publishing have centered on whether research should be made free to the public. But this question sets up a false dichotomy between "the public" and "the scholar". Many people fall into a grey zone, the boundaries of which are determined by institutional affiliation and personal wealth. This category includes independent scholars, journalists, public officials, writers, scientists and others who are experts in their fields yet are unwilling or unable to pay for academic work.

When do scholars become part of "the public"? One answer may be when they cannot afford to access their own work.

Universities that want to use JSTOR are charged as much as $50,000 in annual subscription fees.

JSTOR ... makes only 0.35 per cent of its profits from individual article sales. The high price is designed to maintain the barrier between academia and the outside world. Paywalls codify and commodify tacit elitism.

This denial of resources is a loss to those who value scholarly inquiry.

In the United States, granting agencies like the National Science Foundation have come under attack by politicians who believe they fund projects irrelevant to public life.

The academic publishing industry seems poised to collapse before it changes. [I changed the order of some sentences.]

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Particle Physics boldly goes open source!

Particle Physics Bares All, Publishers Blush

The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) announced last week that 90% of particle physics articles will soon be available for free. Publication costs will be covered by a collection of libraries, library consortia, research institutions, and funding agencies, making this a big move towards throwing off the yoke of academic publishing costs.

Earlier this year, Harvard sent a letterto publishers stating, “Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive.” A full 10% of Harvard Library’s acquisition budget goes entirely to journals;...

... we can largely replace the role of publishing companies with a bit of teamwork and HTML.

... restricting articles actually hurts the researchers who write them.

SCOAP3 has made a big move for the academic world. While there are currently options available for academics to publish their articles openly, such as the PLOS ONE, the publication expense usually falls on the shoulders of the researcher. Costs can be high, anywhere from $1350 to $2900 depending on the subject, which seems to change the problem rather than fix it. The current deal has the money coming from the same places — institutions that would likely be buying access to the articles anyway – -but provides it upfront, allowing the articles to be shared openly, for free.


See also Particle physics goes open access

I tried to find an article I posted on Ning (P.O.S. search engine won't find it) about the two Senators who changed the rules on publishing government funded research papers. They used to be published by universities and were available free, but the two Senators change the rules so they now go through private publisher who in turn sell them. This was passed under the lie of 'job creation.'

Here's a link to the legislation

The Research Works Act, also known as H.R. 3699, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives at the 112th United States Congress on December 16, 2011, by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Carolyn B. Maloney (D‑NY). The bill contains provisions to prohibit open-access mandates for for federally for federally funded research[3] and effectively revert[4] the NIH's Public Access Policy[5] that requires taxpayer-funded research to be freely accessible online.[6] 

Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Carolyn B. Maloney (D‑NY) need to be removed from office.

Death in the battle for free access to academic journal articles.

Web Activist Dies Ahead of Trial

The family and some friends of Internet activist Aaron Swartz say an overzealous government prosecution played a part in driving the computer prodigy to his apparent suicide.

Mr. Swartz, just 26 years old, hanged himself Friday in his Brooklyn apartment, according to his family. A saddened technology industry struggled this weekend to come to grips with the loss of a talented programmer who helped develop some important Web software when he was just a teenager ...

Attention quickly focused on charges he faced for allegedly stealing nearly five million academic articles via the computer network at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Swartz pleaded not guilty, but he faced more than three decades in prison, and his trial was scheduled to begin April 1.

His family and partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, blamed prosecutors in part for Mr. Swartz's death, saying the charges they pursued were unjustifiably harsh.

The charges involved a scheme in which Mr. Swartz allegedly tapped into the computer network at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and used it to download millions of academic-journal articles from a database called JSTOR.




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