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Want to know more about the world of academic publishing and the open access phenomenon? We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting content from around the web.

Recommended Reading

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Academic Spring: How an Angry Maths Blog Sparked a Scientific Revolution

The Guardian reports on how a Cambridge mathematician’s protest led to demands for open access to scientific knowledge. The article includes input from numerous academics and publishers, and summarises the current state of scholarly communication.

  Expensive paywalls not only waste university funds, but slow down future scientific discovery and put up barriers for those who need access to primary research in order to exercise their democratic rights.

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Can’t Disrupt This: Elsevier and the 25.2 Billion Dollar A Year Academic Publishing Business

What would it take to disrupt the academic environment? This opinion piece in Medium.com guides us through the business practices of academic publishers and how, despite the advent of the digital evolution, traditional publishers have thrived. 

  These are companies who buy companies to decrease the cost and increase the profits and sell them again in two years. This is to whom we scholars are voluntarily handing our work. Are you going to trust them? These are people who are in business to make the most profit.

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So When Does Academic Publishing Get Disrupted?

Mathew Ingram discusses why academic publishing is the market that digital disruption forgot.

  Academic publishing is an odd system — the authors are not paid for their writing, nor are the peer reviewers (they’re just more unpaid academics). And yet scientific publications are some of the most outrageously expensive pieces of literature you can buy…. As far as I can tell, the money paid for access today serves little significant purpose except to perpetuate dead business models.

Recommended Watching

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.
– Aaron Swartz (1986 – 2013)

This film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to open information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

And More...

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The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era

Since the creation of scientific journals 350 years ago, large commercial publishing houses have increased their control of the science system. This journal article analyses the evolution and economy of scholarly publishing, and fundamentally questions the role of publishers. 

  It is up to the scientific community to change the system in a similar fashion and in parallel to the open access and open science movements.

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The Future of the Academic Journal

The world of the academic journal continues to be one of radical change. This book is a significant contribution to debates surrounding academic publishing. The book includes various discussions on the future of journals, including the influence of business models and the growth of open access and academic libraries.

  What if researchers were required by their institutions or funders to make their research openly available?

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PolyMath Journal Publishing Reform Page

This is a collection of links to information, opinions, activism, and other issues concerning the practices of research journal publishers. 

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