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I've been reading this blog for about a year and have not felt compelled to comment until this post. The paywall issue for academic journals goes beyond the general public being able to access information such as the article referenced here. Sure, *if* your university has a subscription, you may access the article. Unfortunately, many universities are experiencing budget cuts and the subscriptions to journals is one of the first things to go. This creates an atmosphere in which people who really want to learn and build on current knowledge cannot. Fine, I understand this well enough. It sucks, but, as one commenter said before me, the creators of the product should be compensated. This is where it begins to be a problem for me. The creators likely do not get compensated. Journals count on the fact that academics and scientists are desperate to have their papers published. As an anthropologist, if I get my research written and accepted for publication, I do not get compensated. I likely will have to pay to get anything more than a PDF copy of my own article that has been published in the journal. For instance, I am about to complete my dissertation and am required to upload the finished PDF to a dissertation clearing house that handles its distribution. If I want my dissertation to be made available to the public for free, I am required to pay a fee of about $90. If I do not want to pay, anyone needing or wanting my paper will be required to pay a fee (I think it is usually about $25. If I do the second option, I do receive 5%, but only if my article is requested often enough to generate $25 in 5 years. If not, I do not receive anything. My understanding of this process is that the academic/scientist/researcher works their butt off, writes something meaningful that will benefit other academics/scientists/researchers (and even the general public), and that information is held for ransom. It sucks. More than just a simple paywall kind of suck, too.
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2011 on paywalls are stupid, part infinity at WWdN: In Exile
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Jan 31, 2011