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Journal costs

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I saw this the other day, http://custodians.online/, I'll quote some of it here:

 

 

In Antoine de Saint Exupéry's tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. "It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them," he says, "but you are of no use to the stars that you own".

...

There are many businessmen who own knowledge today. Consider Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher, whose 37% profit margin stands in sharp contrast to the rising fees, expanding student loan debt and poverty-level wages for adjunct faculty. Elsevier owns some of the largest databases of academic material, which are licensed at prices so scandalously high that even Harvard, the richest university of the global north, has complained that it cannot afford them any longer. Robert Darnton, the past director of Harvard Library, says "We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices." For all the work supported by public money benefiting scholarly publishers, particularly the peer review that grounds their legitimacy, journal articles are priced such that they prohibit access to science to many academics - and all non-academics - across the world, and render it a token of privilege.

Elsevier has recently filed a copyright infringement suit in New York against Science Hub and Library Genesis claiming millions of dollars in damages. This has come as a big blow, not just to the administrators of the websites but also to thousands of researchers around the world for whom these sites are the only viable source of academic materials.

...

More than seven years ago Aaron Swartz, who spared no risk in standing up for what we here urge you to stand up for too, wrote: "We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that's out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access. With enough of us, around the world, we'll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we'll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?"

We find ourselves at a decisive moment. This is the time to recognize that the very existence of our massive knowledge commons is an act of collective civil disobedience

 

I've personally had trouble accessing papers, and almost completely rely on open access, or otherwise ask friends who might have subscriptions; this often doesn't pan out, and sometimes only by sheer luck, i.e. coincidence that I'd know a polish mathematician who'd have access to a particular journal (fellow SFNer). Other students I know use libgen regularly for their needs, as well as other repositories alike. I've also looked at the publication costs and found a whopping one thousand dollar fee for some high impact journals, but I don't know of that's a problem for most academics.

 

What are your thoughts on this, specifically the arguments made in the letter?

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What are your thoughts on this, specifically the arguments made in the letter?

Typically the libuary of the university or institute plays a lot of money to publishers to get access to journals. Remember the article in the journals are written by the academics at these places.

 

Some journals are now charging a fee to have your article completely open access. Other journals after some time period make all their papers open access and other are just open from the start. I can tell you that academics and publishers are wondering how the model can change to the benefit of everyone.

 

For most papers that are not too old, I just use the arXiv and sometimes I will find the published version from there.

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