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The Problem With Closed-Access Academic Journals

by Shaylynn Raymond
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Today I spent much of the day searching for libraries that offer access to academic peer reviewed research articles, or even information on how a non-profit can purchase access to research journals that are not open-access. As I graduate from my most recent university program, I’m about to lose access to most of the scientific community. More recently there has been a push for Open-Access research journals that give the public and scientists alike free access to these journals, earning money through pay-for-publishing instead of passing this cost on the consumers/readers. Unfortunately, this model has not been adopted by every journal, despite large journals like Frontiers having this model. The Misophonia Research Journal, when we start it, will be completely Open-Access.

The problem with a lack of access to all academic resources is that the access to information is then tied to money. This also means that smaller organizations wanting to do research or independent clinicians submitting case studies have a harder time reading everything pertinent on the subject matter. Many important research studies are unread, even by well-meaning persons reporting on scientific topics such as journalists.

This issue is a larger part of the scientific problem of elitist science that is tied to monetary value more than the value of scientific research and knowledge for the sake of human good. I am not saying that these companies should not be able to make money; after-all, even non-profits must have enough funds to operate. That said, without an open-access policy for research, we are still in the dark-ages where finding important articles depends upon being accepted into the club, such as an organization with access, or paying to play and receiving access to these journals. That’s not even getting to the topic of journals which accept every paper submitted for the sake of the submission fee… that’s another story entirely.

As a society we must push for Open-Access research and push for governments to provide funding for scientific projects only if the research is publicly accessible.

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