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Will academic publishing ever be free?

Posting in Science

You've just come across the most amazing, groundbreaking study in your field. It could change everything. It could rewrite the textbooks. So you click through to the academic journal it's published in to find out how the experiment was conducted. You salivate over the abstract and BAM, you're smacked across the face with a paywall.

That's the world of online academic publishing today. But will it stay that way? Not according to Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. The Conversation reports:

"I think that the open access activists will win out," said Sir Tim, speaking at the launch of the $40 million CSIRO's Digital Productivity and Services Flagship on Tuesday.

"A lot of publishers realise that's the way that is going. The unfortunate death of Aaron Swartz brought… that whole battle to many people's attention," he said, adding that an open access model gives the most benefit to the most people.

He also adds that opening up academic materials adds fairness to academia and makes the argument that because a lot of research is publicly funded it should be open to the public.

According to one study, reported by The Guardian, a high number of academic papers are already available through open access. Whether the rest of the academic publishing world will give up the millions they receive from academic institutions and individuals is yet to be seen. Do you think it will happen?

World wide web creator sees open access future for academic publishing [The Conversation]

Photo: Flickr/Alex E. Proimos

— By on January 30, 2013, 5:07 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure