Monday, March 16, 2009

Information wants to be free

Here's a good proposal:
It is high time that we placed all the content of peer reviewed, academic journals online, for free, and without any employment-based firewalls. It is a simple, cheap way to make a big leap forward for our culture, our democracy and our educational system. Information like this should not be restricted to a small percentage of society for the enrichment of the academic publishing world. There really is no way to justify denying 95% of the country access to our best, peer-reviewed academic research.
Academia isn't a priesthood. If the goal of your institution is to further intellectual progress and learning, there's no reason you should submit your work to a publisher who charges for reprints rather than put it on the web for free. If your livelihood depends on your position as a gatekeeper to a hoard of information, you better figure out how to add some value.

This is analogous to what the newspapers are going through and comes down to the same issue: one of the problems that publishers were created to solve (getting information from an author and making it available to an audience) just isn't a problem anymore. We still need academic, peer-reviewed studies and papers, just like we still need journalism. But that doesn't mean we need over-priced journals locked away in ivory towers/closed databases.


Blogger Sarah said...

Free access is definitely coming, no question. All NIH funded research, regardless of the journal it is published in, must be posted in the free archive within 1 year after its publication by the author if the journal does not automatically do it.

7:12 AM, March 18, 2009  

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