“The rapid migration of scientific online journals around the turn of the century seemed to usher in changes: In 1995, Forbes predicted that Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, would be the “first victim of the Internet”. After 25 years, the tech-scientific arm of the RELX group, a multinational conglomerate that the publisher has become, has annual sales of more than £ 2.6 billion with profit margins of between 30% and 40%. …
Who in their right mind would spend dozens more times to have their item in nature?
The answer? Almost every. Not because scientists are not very eager to deal with their budgets, but on the contrary: Articles in renowned magazines are the engine that guarantees reputation, jobs and research resources in the academic world. Like those who pay for a Louis Vuitton bag, the writers care less about the product than about the brand.
The result is a prestigious economy that allows big magazines to demand what they want, and also gets freelance work from academics who want to bond with their brands as reviewers or editors. There is no room for renewal in this market: even competitors offering better services at lower cost would take decades to build a reputation for a nature or a science.
As a result, researchers from countries like Brazil are forced to choose between two ethically questionable alternatives: have their work blocked by paywalls for the benefit of others, or waste the country’s scarce research resources with excessive open access fees….
Ironically, Brazil has also launched Scielo, perhaps the world’s most successful large-scale Open Access initiative, which uses publicly funded infrastructure to ensure that most national journals do not charge access or publication fees. However, a large segment of Brazilian researchers cannot afford to use it as they have to lower their college degrees by not using large magazines….”