Thursday, September 18, 2008

Academic journals

Imagine that a movie studio just spent $100,000,000 on a terrific new movie, but if they want anyone to see it, they have to give it to a movie theater. Not just the film itself, but all rights to the movie forever and ever. And the theater owner says this is perfectly fair, because the studio doesn't pay for the screening or provide any popcorn.

Now you understand the “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” and can appreciate the gall of an executive from the Association of American Publishers claiming, “Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles — publishers do.”

More at Au Courant.

[P.S. James asks the source for that last quotation. It was buried in the Au Courant posting and can be found here.]


James Hanley said...

“Government does not fund peer-reviewed journal articles — publishers do.”

Do you have a link for that quote? It's rather an egregious, but clever, lie. Sure, the "articles"--that is, the actual publication of the article--is done by the journal. But of course the article is just the end product of research that is funded by government, colleges and universities, and the researcher him/herself.

And note that the publishers rarely pay the scholars. That in itself is ok, as the journals probably couldn't make enough money to function if they had to pay for the articles. But it does serve to further underscore how little of the cost of research, how little of the total effort that results in an article, they fund.

Patricia F. Anderson said...

I absolutely adore this post - both insightful, accurate, clever, and HIGHLY entertaining. :) Thank you.