Should Scientific Journals Be Free?

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  1. GmaGoldie profile image76
    GmaGoldieposted 8 years ago

    Accessing research on the web is wonderful but the research journals all too often want money for the "rest" of the article.  Does this limit knowledge or encourage it?

    1. Beelzedad profile image58
      Beelzedadposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      They just need a few bucks to pay for the service as they can't depend on advertising revenues like most other sites. smile

    2. psycheskinner profile image84
      psycheskinnerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Who would pay for the cost of reviewing, editing, fact checking, formatting, webhost, paper copies and promotion of the articles if they were free?

      1. skyfire profile image71
        skyfireposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I think people are really ignoring efforts and cost of living because of trend of open source and free software culture.

    3. ilmdamaily profile image65
      ilmdamailyposted 8 years agoin reply to this


      They should, and in fact must in the future be completely free.

      It is a constant frustration of mine that I cannot get access to quality academic research.

      For those who are unaware, academic journals are often collected together in "collections" - a code word for a private company that collates and publishes the information of selected journals in a specific discipline online.

      These companies then charge universities an "institutional fee" for access to these electronic resources. These fees are in the vicnity of thousands of dollars per year, way way way beyond the scope of a normal person's ability to afford access.

      What's wrong with paying for access?

      When you consider that academics do not pay to write in a journal, nor are they paid to write - a very great deal! The only point at which money becomes involved in the system is where it is published online. And you're kidding yourself if you think that the money they charge for that service is in any way commensurate with the actual work involved in that task.

      Realistically, I could run a company like that from a garage - anybody could.

      We should not have to pay for access to this research. The study and work that is conducted in these journals is carried out in the spirit of inquiry, not for financial profit.

      It is a resource for humanity.

      Does that mean companies should provide it for free? Probably not. No company could sustain itself that way. It just means that we need to remove the commercial aspect from the equation.

      Maybe it's time for a restructure? Universites should really handle the electronic publication of journals - they are involved in every other stage of the process.

      I would LOVE to see the creation of publicly available free academic journals, in the spirit of such venerable institutions as the Khan academy.

    4. Evan G Rogers profile image74
      Evan G Rogersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      have you ever tried to read a scientific journal? It's pretty maddening. Also, they're pretty thick. Also, they come out weekly-monthly.

      Anyone that wants to take thousands of important research articles, sift through them and make important decisions about what to publish, edit them mercilessly, and then proceed to print a 60-100 page magazine on a weekly basis on decent paper... FOR FREE... is a madman.

      There's a price for those, the same way there's a price for Mad Magazine: they supply a demand and thus are worth something.

      Does it hinder knowledge? well, yeah, probably ... but I don't think that people who aren't willing to pay the money are really gonna be missing out much... those things are written in science-ese

  2. Flightkeeper profile image71
    Flightkeeperposted 8 years ago

    Well, it just means knowledge needs to be paid for, like going to college you have to pay for tuition unless you're on a scholarship.  I think it's the same thing.

  3. I am DB Cooper profile image62
    I am DB Cooperposted 8 years ago

    It encourages knowledge by ensuring that scientific data has a monetary value. There would be little incentive to do large research studies if the results would all be given away for free (unless of course, the government funded the science, as they do with programs like NASA).

  4. skyfire profile image71
    skyfireposted 8 years ago

    If not free then atleast accessible via internet subscription for monthly fee.

    1. psycheskinner profile image84
      psycheskinnerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      There are already subscription services for collections of journals--e.g. Questia, JSTOR, also you can request free copies via your public library.

  5. Dame Scribe profile image61
    Dame Scribeposted 8 years ago

    I would check online and offline libraries for alternative source or possible copy of the work. smile Research is heavy duty, time consuming and the work involved with scientific papers should be respected. smile If the price isn't too much for a monthly subscription to access their information..I would pay.

  6. zrichards profile image60
    zrichardsposted 8 years ago

    While it would be great if research publications were free, it just wont happen. When someone publishes their research they don't have to pay to have it put in a journal, and they don't get paid to put it in a journal. However, they want their research to be published in the most well respected journal they are able to. Developing a well respected journal is not easy, and therefore takes time, money, and effort. These journals can afford to charge a fee to access their publications because people know they will be getting the highest quality research papers. The said truth is it takes money to produce something that earns respect in the scientific world.


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