Why does it cost millions to access publicly funded research papers? Blame the paywall | CBC News

Canada’s academic librarians are cheering from the sidelines now that the University of California has cancelled its subscriptions with the academic publishing giant Elsevier.

It was a clash of titans as the largest public university in the U.S. pushed back against a multi-million dollar paywall blocking open access to the world’s scientific knowledge.

“People were following it very closely,” said Mary-Jo Romaniuk, librarian and vice-provost at the University of Calgary. “This may be the start of things to come.”

Tension has been building for years over the gradual privatization of academic literature which has resulted in a handful of powerful international publishing companies controlling the dissemination of research. …

Increasingly, public funding agencies are requiring scientists to make their research freely available as a condition for receiving grants.

All three of Canada’s major research funding agencies — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) — have an open access requirement. Any research funded since 2015 must be freely available within 12 months.

So far, CIHR estimates that about 60 per cent of its researchers have complied.”