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The Inaccessibility of Academic Research

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I strongly recommend Laura McKenna‘s piece on the wall that separates the general public from academic research:

Step back and think about this picture. Universities that created this academic content for free must pay to read it. Step back even further. The public — which has indirectly funded this research with federal and state taxes that support our higher education system — has virtually no access to this material, since neighborhood libraries cannot afford to pay those subscription costs. Newspapers and think tanks, which could help extend research into the public sphere, are denied free access to the material. Faculty members are rightly bitter that their years of work reaches an audience of a handful, while every year, 150 million attempts to read JSTOR content are denied every year.

And this is true even though writers of academic articles aren’t directly compensated. It is indeed a system that needs to be fundamentally rethought.

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