“Such is the issue of availability today, that the ability for someone to access research is based almost entirely on their affiliations to any well-funded research program. Michael Eisen, a professor of genetics, genomics, and development at the University of California, Berkeley, has been a staunch proponent of open access and has long warned about the postponement of innovation and discovery due to slow accessibility. As Michael Eisen elaborates in his UC Berkeley Interview from his “point of view, science is getting a raw deal out of this arrangement, because it is providing all the money, but not getting access for everybody on Earth”. Not only is science getting the short end of the deal but so are taxpayers who are responsible for more than 40% of all academic research and development.
The largest issue that Professor Eisen points out is how institutions choose to hire or tenure solely based on publication in prestigious academic journals. Effectively, what Universities are doing is handing the process of professorial evaluation to publishers like Elsevier and paying for it in the thousands of dollars they spend on journal subscriptions.
The cost of these subscriptions help form yet another divide between educational institutions in developed and developing countries. As Peter Suber wrote in his book Open Access, “In 2008, Harvard subscribed to 98,900 serials and Yale to 73,900. The best-funded research library in India, at the Indian Institute of Science, subscribed to 10,600. Several sub-Saharan African university libraries subscribed to zero.” The cost climbing cost of these journals has pushed even endowment rich universities like Harvard to take on cancellation efforts….”