A Turning Point for Scholarly Publishing

Read the full story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Though initiatives to make published research more freely available have for years poked at the publishing industry’s armor, these efforts — known as the open-access movement — have not toppled the norms of how academic work is distributed and read. Titans like Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley own troves of journals that enjoy immense respect in academe. In the dominant system, a person can read newly published research in one of two ways: pay a one-time fee to obtain an article locked behind a paywall, or get it through a campus library, which may pay millions of dollars for subscriptions.

That may soon change. Smaller-scale efforts are mixing with top-down decisions — through universities’ subscription negotiations and a major European plan that mandates open-access publication for certain research — to put unusual pressure on publishers.

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