“But researchers have the access they need”, redux

June 29, 2012

Just a link this time. Richard Smith was the editor of the British Medical Journal until 2004, and at one point he was chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group. He is currently director of the United Health Group’s chronic disease initiative, and an unpaid professor at both Warwick University and Imperial College London. He’s a pretty big hitter by any standards.

Does he have the access to research that he needs?

Read his story on the BMJ blog.

This. Is. Stupid.

In their desperate scramble to retain the 32%-42% profit margins they’ve grown used to, academic publishers have told us a lot of different lies (e.g. that they provide peer-review), and repeated them so often that we’re in danger of believing them by sheer repetition.

Can we please put an end to this one? Researchers do not have the access they need.

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4 Responses to ““But researchers have the access they need”, redux”

  1. Diane Lester Says:

    Apparently the database JSTOR turns away 150 million attempts to access its journal articles a year.
    http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/jstor-tests-free-read-only-access-to-some-articles/34908
    I believe it contains only a fraction of all the peer-reviewed literature and many of its journals are nonprofit which means much of their back content is free on journal websites. The scale of inaccess to research articles is truly scary with consequences best not thought about.

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, Diane. Yes, it’s frightening. But I have do disagree with “The scale of inaccess to research articles is truly scary with consequences best not thought about.” Not thinking about it for the last twenty years is what got us into this mess. We need to be scared, outraged, horrified, scandalised. That’s the only way we’ll get up out of the comfortable status quo.

  3. Matt Wedel Says:

    That’s the only way we’ll get up out of the comfortable status quo.

    Or rather, for most of us, the uncomfortable status quo.

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    That’s the only way we’ll get up out of the comfortable status quo.

    Or rather, for most of us, the uncomfortable status quo.

    Would that it were so. If it were uncomfortable for most academics, it would never have persisted this long. The problem is that for too many people, the access problem is hidden by expensive institutional subscriptions — so they have no personal reason to object to the way things are.


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