The Future Of Open Access: Why Has Academia Not Embraced The Internet Revolution? - Forbes
"One of the most remarkable aspects of the story of the web’s evolution is that the collective output of the world’s universities has remained largely absent from the open online world, even as most other forms of information have shifted to some form of open online access. In the case of encyclopedias, entirely new forms of collaborative knowledge documentation like Wikipedia have emerged, while journalism has shifted to free advertising-supported distribution and even music and videos are increasingly legally available through ad-supported streaming services or affordable licensed download services. Academic papers, the lifeblood of the scholarly world of academia, have resisted this transition. To those outside academia it might be surprising that most universities don’t publish all of their books, papers, presentations and course materials on their websites for the world to access. Even at public universities, where the salaries of faculty and staff and the operating costs of the institution are often heavily subsidized by taxpayer money, either directly by their states or indirectly through grants from NSF, NIH and other federal agencies, the majority of the research output of the institution is not publicly accessible ... The high cost of journal access and the cumbersome and complex interfaces that libraries provide to their subscription holdings, has fed an underground movement to pirate academic literature. While news headlines about online piracy tend to focus on illegal downloading of music tracks or streaming of videos, the academic community is facing its own pirating crisis. Yesterday Science published a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Sci-Hub, one of the most infamous academic pirating sites, which provides free access to more than 50 million illegally acquired papers ..."