Academic publishing is absurdly expensive—but soon it could be free | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 16, 2024

The University of California (UC), the largest public academic system in the US, is ending its $11 million subscription to Elsevier, the world’s biggest and most influential publisher of academic researcher. Perhaps this seems like an insane move by such a renowned university, but it’s a move driven by principle: The UC system doesn’t want scientific knowledge locked up behind paywalls, and thinks the costs of academic publishing have grown out of control. Another major problem with journals such as Elsevier is that they somehow get away with not paying for the research that they publish. Now the question is: how will the UC system and other academic systems replace major publishers? The most promising option being championed these days is to create a new system that provides open access to journal articles. That means articles are free to read—with researchers only having to pay journals a fee for covering the costs of publishing. For publishers, it means changing their business model from charging readers to charging authors. As to whether the most prestigious journals, such as Nature and Science, will budge has yet to be seen.

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