Yes, We’re Looking at You, Brill

The Guardian is right-

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist.


Academic publishers charge vast fees to access research paid for by us. Down with the knowledge monopoly racketeers.

And- pointedly

Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the western world? Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities.

Everyone claims to agree that people should be encouraged to understand science and other academic research. Without current knowledge, we cannot make coherent democratic decisions. But the publishers have slapped a padlock and a “keep out” sign on the gates.

You might resent Murdoch’s paywall policy, in which he charges £1 for 24 hours of access to the Times and Sunday Times. But at least in that period you can read and download as many articles as you like. Reading a single article published by one of Elsevier’s journals will cost you $31.50. Springer charges €34.95, Wiley-Blackwell, $42. Read 10 and you pay 10 times. And the journals retain perpetual copyright. You want to read a letter printed in 1981? That’ll be $31.50.

Read the whole thing, it is SPOT ON. And then think of all the academic publishers with their outrageous fees and ask yourself who really, really is in it for the money.

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7 thoughts on “Yes, We’re Looking at You, Brill

  1. Tom Verenna 30 Aug 2011 at 10:34 am



  2. Craig Benno 30 Aug 2011 at 10:43 am

    It’s why I make the most of Ecohost, through our college library.


  3. […] Jim West and the Abnormally insightful Duane Smith have commented on The Guardian’s recent article, which argues convincingly that academic publishing is far too restrictive in its cost. It points out, among other things: Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist. […]


  4. Nick Norelli 30 Aug 2011 at 11:22 am


    And a belated happy birthday!


    • Jim 30 Aug 2011 at 11:24 am



  5. Roger Pearse 1 Sep 2011 at 8:07 am

    Very well said indeed.


  6. […] West clearly thought so. He swiftly (does the man do anything slowly?) posted Yes, We’re Looking at You, Brill cutting highlights from the Guardian piece and agreeing.  Duane basically also agrees, adding […]


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