During the month of Open Access week (October 22-28, 2018) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience making their work Open Access. We appreciate their contributions.
The second post is by Geb Thomas, Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Open Access journals are subversive
As academics, we regularly review and edit for the content of scientific publications for free. We receive federal and state government funds to conduct research, which leads to new knowledge, which we write up and give away to publishers who sell it, effectively making it inaccessible to anyone who isn’t associated with a major university. The publishers are a parasite on scientific progress. Elsevier (a major academic publisher) made 2.5 billion pounds of profit (34%) in 2017. Typesetting, printing, and mailing journals is no longer needed. What role do modern scientific journal publishers fulfill that they need to be rewarded with profits equal to many times the investment whole states make in higher education?
The world would be a better place if more people could learn about it. We need more readers. Government-funded research should be broadly and freely disseminated.
If we put our writing and reviewing energy into our open-access journals, we can subvert this functionless nuisance to the flow of knowledge and make the world a better place.
Let’s get cracking and stick it to the man.