Hitting ‘Unsubscribe’ on Pay to Play

Rebelling against the soaring subscription costs, the University of California system recently dropped its deal with publishing giant Elsevier, which rakes in billions each year.

The rebellion may grow because publishers profit by getting “a lot of taxpayer-funded, highly skilled labor for free and affixing a premium price tag to its goods,” Vox reports. Academics often pay—rather than get paid—to publish in journals, then pay to read them.

Although publishers call themselves the gatekeepers of quality research, fed-up academics, librarians and even pirates are fighting the status quo. But researchers’ grants still depend on publishing, which may be keeping a full-blown revolution at bay.


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