This week, the University of California announced that they cancelled the Elsevier subscription for academic journals. Elsevier refused to lower their fees and make UC articles open access available. This is a significant move as the University of California is one of the biggest producers of academic articles – with 50.000 articles per year. However, for many, this move might not have been very relevant. Therefore, some background information is required.

As I discussed earlier, the publication process of scientific papers is flawed. Commercial publishers such as Elsevier, Springer-Nature, Wolters-Kluwer, Taylor-Francis or Sage control the world of academic publishing. Together they share the $32 billion market. Because they do not have to pay for the product they sell, their product margin is higher than Google or Facebook. For decades, researchers have complained about this process, because as soon as academics want to publish their articles, which were paid for by tax money, they are required to give away their copyright to the academic publishers.

The problems with the publication of academic papers have been around for decades. They have been very well documented in a recent 55-minute documentary. Paywall: The Business of Scholarship shows the massive problems we face. It is a must-see for …

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