The world of publishing is evolving frantically, while it remains frustratingly fragmented and prohibitively expensive for many. If you’re a student who just left your academic library behind only to discover you are now locked out of the stacks; a startup researching water usage in Africa and keep hitting paywalls; a local nonprofit that studies social change activism, but all the latest papers cost $30 per read… This article is for you.
Some ideas (a few here, more than twenty-five in the full post):
- Use your library
- Preprints and respositories
- Buy it
- Alternative sharing methods
- Publisher donations
That’s all, really. That’s literally all you can do. It’s kind of sad that such a patchwork of partially suitable options exists. You have to be a research ninja to navigate the obstacle course of paywalls. Who is looking out for those going stag into the wide world of knowledge? The open access movement is, and each year they move the needle towards a future in which every paper is at least free to read, if not free to reuse and share. You should support open access for your own selfish research needs, for the benefit of those even less fortunate than you, and for the untold discoveries that could erupt from a truly open, global, collaborative research ecosystem. Until then, pick your hack.
Jake Orlowitz, Wikimedian
While Jake works with us over here at the Wikimedia Foundation, this post was written in an entirely volunteer capacity. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author alone. The text of this post is available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.