Schlagwort-Archive: open access

Breaking the (pay)wall

Why is it so expensive to access the results of publicly-funded research – a fact that makes research much more difficult if not inpossible in remote areas or poor countries? A new documentary shows the role of publishers in “business of scholarhips” works – and a new initiative by european research institutions tries to save the concept of open access

When I started studying many years ago, I read, like many others, the book about how to write a thesis by Umberto Eco. The book, written in the 1970s, deals with the problem of how to access the literature necessary to write about a specific topic – and is shows that it was very common thiry years ago that students or researchers had to travel all over the country (or even to another country) to search the libraries for the books and articles they needed. While this may still be true for people working on very special topics or doing research in archives, for most others, with the technical development of the last decades, this could indeed be over.

It could. From a technical point of view, it would be no problem to access research articles from all over the world even in the smallest library. But in fact, the opposite is true. A few days ago I talked to a friend living in a remote area of Europe, with no bigger city around – to get access to the research paper she needs for work and research, she actually still has to travel by train or plane to the next university city or even the capital – because just these librairies have access to the journals she needs, and because they can not open to remote-access. People living in poorer countries, with not public librairies or more-or-less well-founded universities around may not even have the chance to do so.

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