Academic publishing for fun and profit

Anthropologist David Graeber recently tweeted: “doing online research is SO much harder than it was when I was writing Debt. Everything’s being privatised. It’s a disaster for scholarship.”  The book he’s referring to is  Debt: The First 5000 Years, his groundbreaking book on the history of debt, from ancient times to the present debt crisis, first published back in ye olde 2011.  If things are bad in the humanities, over in the sciences, things aren’t much better:  The Digital Biologist, has published a particularly detailed and trenchant post on the current state of scientific academic publishing.  Worth a read:

The eye-watering prices that these academic publishing companies charge for their journals play a considerable role in further draining public money from a research system that is already enduring a major funding crisis. By some estimates, the subscriptions that universities must pay for access to these journals swallow up  as much as 10% of the public research funding that they receive.  This public money is essentially being channeled away from research and into the coffers of private sector corporations.

….

It is a testament to how expensive access to these journals has become, that even Harvard University, one of the wealthiest institutions of higher education in the world, recently sent a memo to its faculty members informing them that it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers.

Read more at: The Digital Biologist

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