Monday, June 4, 2012

Opinion: Academic Publishing Is Broken - Michael P. Taylor, The Scientist

News and Opinion - The Scientist

Opinion: Academic Publishing Is Broken

The current system by which academics publish their scientific discoveries is a massive waste of money.

By Michael P. Taylor | March 19, 2012

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Flickr, dullhunkAcademic publishers are currently up in arms about the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA)—a bill that has the perfectly reasonable goal of making publicly funded research available to the public that funded it. Tom Allen, president of the American Association of Publishers, described it rather hysterically as “intellectual eminent domain, but without fair compensation.” Why are he and his colleagues so desperate to retain the current business model?

Flickr, dullhunk

By any objective standard, academic publishing is a very strange business indeed. It became established at a time when all publishing was on paper, when duplication and delivery were demanding problems, and when publishers provided an important service to researchers. Now, as the Internet is dramatically changing other forms of publishing, academic journals seem stuck in the 1980s, with results both comical and disastrous.

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