Scholarly publishing is broken. Here’s how to fix it

An article for Aeon by Jon Tennant on the heinous state of affairs that gives unscrupulous publishers profit margins that put Apple to shame while hiding publicly funded research from the public that pays for it. It is a shamefully broken system that stands in the way of human progress. It has to change.

The ground this (open access) article goes over is much the same as the ground many of us have been tilling for many years, but it’s well expressed, and good to see it aired in a non-academic (though intellectually vigorous) journal like Aeon. It winds up with a set of six recommendations for things that all academics can do to improve our lot, which all make sense to me:

  1. Sign, and commit to, the Declaration on Research Assessment, and demand fairer evaluation criteria independent of journal brands. This will reduce dependencies on commercial journals and their negative impact on research.
  2. Demand openness. Even in research fields such as global health, 60 per cent of researchers do not archive their research so it is publicly available, even when it is completely free and within journal policies to do so. We should demand accountability for openness to liberate this life-saving knowledge.
  3. Know your rights. Researchers can use the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Rights Coalition (SPARC) Author Addendum to retain rights to their research, instead of blindly giving it away to publishers. Regain control.
  4. Support libraries. Current library subscription contracts are protected from public view by ‘non-disclosure clauses’ that act to prevent any price transparency in a profoundly anti-competitive practice that creates market dysfunction. We should support libraries in renegotiating such contracts, and in some cases even provide support in cancelling them, so that they can reinvest funds in more sustainable publishing ventures.
  5. Help to build something better. On average, academics currently spend around $5,000 for each published article – to get a PDF and some extra sides. A range of different studies and working examples exist that show the true cost of publishing an article can be as low as $100 using cost-efficient funding schemes, community buy-in, and technologies that go a step further than PDF generation. We can do better.
  6. Use your imagination. What would you want the scholarly communication system to look like? What are all the wonderful features you would include? What can you do to help turn a vision into reality?

 

Address of the bookmark: https://aeon.co/ideas/scholarly-publishing-is-broken-heres-how-to-fix-it

Originally posted at: https://landing.athabascau.ca/bookmarks/view/3388817/scholarly-publishing-is-broken-here%E2%80%99s-how-to-fix-it

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.