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.

1 Comments:

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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