Scholarly publishing should be free
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"Scholarly publishing used to be about scientists communicating their discoveries to other scientists. Today, these discoveries are buried somewhere among 24,000 journals - most of which cannot be accessed by the individual scientist because his or her institution does not subscribe to them....[T]here is very little obvious correlation between an article and the rank of the journal it was published in, but a rather strong correlation between the number of retractions in a journal and its rank....But it gets even worse: the multinational corporations that control scholarly publishing actually siphon off billions of dollars from this neanderthal enterprise, at profit margins exceeding 30%....And this brings me to the point about why scholarly publishing can be saved: depending on what sources you use and which profits are counted, the for-profit scholarly publishing sector rakes in an annual profit of anywhere between EUR2 and EUR4 billion in largely taxpayer funds. This is more than enough money not only to make all the publicly funded research accessible to the taxpayer who funded it, but there would be plenty left to invest in infrastructure to develop a smart alerting service where I would spend one hour a week searching for the literature and 10 hours reading it....Yes, I suggest to get rid of for-profit scholarly publishing altogether and let the libraries again host the work of their scholars, as it once was...."