Scientific Research Shouldn’t Sit behind a Paywall – Scientific American Blog Network

Most of the scientific research conducted in the U.S. and abroad is supported by federal government funds — that is to say, by taxpayer dollars. Yet much of the information that results from such funding is not publicly available outside of research institutions that can afford expensive scientific journal subscriptions.

Instead, students, doctors, researchers and the public often have to pay a fee of some $40 per article to read the latest scientific research. As a result, physicians, for instance, may not be able to read a paper with direct relevance to their clinical practice….

This is just not right.

Luckily, there’s a solution: open access. Open access is the idea that scientific literature, which was paid for largely by public funds, including author fees, should be available for all….

Unfortunately, commercial publishers have been slow to adopt the open access model for fear that it might reduce their sizable profit margins. The world’s largest scientific publisher, Elsevier, for example, enjoys a profit margin of about 40 percent for its publishing division — larger than that of nearly every other publicly traded corporation in the world….”