Researchers! Stop doing free work for non-open journals!
September 29, 2011
A month ago today, George Monbiot’s piece Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist was published in The Guardian. It stirred up a lot of debate, and has garnered 365 comments so far, most of them strongly supportive. When we wrote about his article here at SV-POW!,I concluded with this declaration:
From now on, I plan to stop freely volunteering expertise and labour to non-open journals. When I’m asked to review a manuscript, I’ll reply saying that I’ll be happy to do it for free if the final published version is going to open-access (as it will be at, say, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, PLoS ONE or Palaeontologia Electronica); but that if it’s going to be paywalled, I am available at a reasonable consultancy rate of say £100 per hour.
That caught the eye of the Times Higher Education editors, and I was asked to write a short piece for them on this subject. I’m pleased to say that it’s in today’s issue, and also available online. Hopefully it will reach a very different constituency from the one that usually reads Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week.
And if you feel strongly about the hijacking of academic publishing by for-profit corporations, please consider leaving a comment on that article instead of, or as well as, here. (No registration is required.)
What you can do
If you are a researcher and don’t like the stranglehold that commercial publishers have on our work — if you object to the fact that much of your institution’s funds goes to pay these unappointed gatekeepers for subscriptions, rather than on funding research — if you agree that work funded by your government should be freely available to citizens — then please join me in refusing to review for non-open journals. It’s the right thing to do. Leave a comment if you want to register your support.