Why open access is important in academic publishing

Connecting to some of the reasons behind open access, here is a blog article from last year that sums up some important points. The context here is mainly the US.

“Academic publisher Elsevier, which owns a majority of the prestigious academic journals, has higher operating profits than Apple. In 2013, Elsevier posted 39 percentprofits, according to Heather Morrison, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Studies in contrast to the 37 percent profit that Apple displayed.”

“This lucrative nature of academic publishing comes at a price–and that weight falls on the shoulders of the full higher education community which is already bearing the burden of significantly decreasing academic budgets. “A large research university will pay between $3-3.5 million a year in academic subscription fees –the majority of which goes to for-profit academic publishers,” says Sam Gershman, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT who assumes his post as an assistant professor at Harvard next year.”

““Money should be taken out of academic publishing as much as possible. The money that is effectively being spent by universities and funding agencies on journal access could otherwise be spent on reducing tuition, supporting research, and all things that are more important than paying corporate publishers,” says Gershman. John Bohannon, a biologist and Science contributing correspondent, is in agreement and says, “Certainly a huge portion of today’s journals could and should be just free. There is no value added in going with the traditional model that was built on paper journals, with having people whose full time job was to deal with the journal, promote the journal and print the journal, and deal with librarians. All that can now be done essentially for free on the internet.””

 

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