The present situation: 1) The journals get free access to the hard work researchers do. In open access journals. the same scientists have to pay to get their work published 2) As pointed out, scientists do the hard work of reviewing which provides good journals their credibility and are not compensated for the same 3) There is a lot of research funded by government agencies. This is possible because of the tax we pay. But when we want to access work done on tax payers funds, we have to pay for the same again. 4) Open access journals are mushrooming often as a one man show as the returns are great. It is difficult judge the quality of the journal as the editorial board lists scientists from reputable universities.
This has got to change!
As a retired acquisitions librarian who followed and struggled with this dynamic for decades, I feel as if I am seeing the buggy industry finally being displaced by the auto industry — with the vital difference in this case being that open access at least has the potential of providing more efficient serials access, at much lower cost to libraries and users. Serials printing and packaging is the horse-and-buggy alternative struggling to linger on into the age of electric cars. I can understand Elsevier, etc clinging to their lucrative business models but kudos to California libraries (and others) who are forcing library vendors into the future.
A related issue is the fact that journals depend on free work of eminent scholars to review submitted articles, and do not compensate them in any way.
So if they refuse to pay, maybe we should decline reviewing for them.
UC has taken commendable step to thwart profiteering by publishers.
Please give me links to open access journals and websites where I can access the articles without help of any university library.
The entire discussion can be boiled down to one question: who should pay the costs of running academic journals? If readers should pay for it, one needs subscription fees and pay walls. If authors should pay for it, a researcher’s success in publishing academic papers depends on his/her (employer’s) wealth AND publishers have a financial incentive to conduct a very ‘soft’ peer-review and to publish also many low-quality papers, because this gives them the highest profit (i.e., the business model of the thousands of ‘predatory’ journals/publishers). The only solution to this dilemma that I see is that governments and funding agencies etc. give lump-sum payments to open-access journals so that neither readers nor authors have to pay and the journals cannot increase their profit by publishing large numbers of low-quality papers.
The real problem with Open Access is that it is increasingly controlled by profit-seeking private equity firms.
In my view, one of the more critical enablers of change to open access will be the dynamic discussed late in the article–that being the way in which academic scientists believe that the journal itself is a statement of quality of the work as opposed to relying on the quality of the work itself. It’s an entrenched dynamic, if not crutch, that unless and until academic promotions and reputation are judged on the science itself, and not whether or how much of career productivity is in what are believed to be “top tier” journals, will act as a fundamental barrier. I believe the funding agencies that support open access understand this well and I welcome them taking the lead to force the system to change.
The UC Library took a bold step to revolusionize publishing, but the publishers are transfering the bills to authors. They continuity of the Open Access model has received so much attention and interest of academics. The cost of publishing an article is getting so high that it will affect research communication especially from developing countries where individuals sponsor a greater percentage of research. This also accounts for the patronage of duplicate (predatory) journals, most of who have no recourse to the peer review system of articles. The open access model should be modified to enable authors publish articles free or even be paid for their contributions to knowledge.
Indeed, the researchers of an underdeveloped country, with few grants, like, for example Argentina (where I work as researcher), will possibly be unable to publish with the current system of open access journals.
One thing should be clear: Making papers available to people is really cheap. I can host your papers for you for free if you want, but I’m sure you will find multitude of options otherwise.
The real cost is in reviewing, but I’m sure Argentina has plenty of excellent scholars who can help each other keeping their work great.
BTW – How do you afford to read papers now? Do you pay 50$ per article as they often cost?
You may be interested to know that well in advance of these developments and Plan S, IGI Global has been providing a transformative open access offset model, IGI Global’s OA Waiver (Offset Model) Initiative, that is subsidizing the open access article processing charges (APCs) for researchers when their work is submitted and accepted into an IGI Global journal when their institution’s library invests in one of IGI Global’s research databases. View full details: https://www.igi-global.com/publish/contributor-resources/open-access/.
Why should I have to pay a publisher thousands of dollars to get my research published in an Open Access way?. That’s ridiculous! It’s the publisher who should pay me for the right/honour to publish my original research!
This conversation is obsolete. Most practising scientists in the world already know how to find full text article online. They are all freely available in many places, organised and searchable. This article is about libraries becoming obsolete. Stop wasting public money and stop buying these big deals. Who authorised you? I haven’t used the university library subscriptions in 20 years and have had no need to pay for any paper. The Internet has no paywalls, only librarians. Remove the librarian and the publisher will adapt to the consumer, instead of asking them to adapt to the librarian.
This is a bad take.
Many thanks to UC library for the firm stand. Publishers are skinning researchers too by asking disproportionate fees for publication. In a few years time, publishing cost for a paper has gone up from a few hundred rupees to ten thousand, almost a hundred fold increase. Technology on the other hand has become a hundred times cheaper.
I also thank funding agencies like Gates foundation for supporting open access.
Well written article. Thanks to the author and publisher.
If academic papers have ANY amount of Government funding, then the research belongs to the public and yes, they should be free.
If it can be shown that the papers have no Government funding, they should be able to do what they want with them.
Careful. All you’ve really established is that the paper partly belongs to ‘the government’, not ‘the public’. Is that really where you wished to go?
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