Want to Change Academic Publishing? Just Say No

Hugh Gusterson, Chroncile of Higher Education, Mar 09, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The headline is definitely a mismatch for the content of the article. In a nutshell, the author argues that if he were a lawyer or physician, consulting fees could be hundreds of dollars a session, and as an author, he might be paid well by magazines, but as an academic, he gets nothing for writing or reviewing for academic journals. Meanwhile, as we all know, publishers charge substantial fees for these articles and pay their CEOs millions of dollars. Is the solution to "just say no"? Not exactly. "We should give up our archaic notions of unpaid craft labor and insist on professional compensation for our expertise, just as doctors, lawyers, and accountants do," writes . He might want to rethink. As a professor at George Mason University, he can receive $200K or more a year. Is he ready to give that up in order to be paid on a case by case basis? Probably not. Academics are paid for the academic work they do, and paid very well. So that's not the problem. Indeed - maybe if the public threatened to stop paying academics unless they published in open access journals, maybe they wouldn't be so blasé about simply handing over public goods to pirate private publishers.

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