All Scientific Papers Should Be Free; Here’s Why They’re Not

All Scientific Papers Should Be Free; Here’s Why They’re Not


If science drops in a field but no other researchers
are around to hear it, does it further the academic area of study? Howdy researchers, Trace here for DNews. Science is a process, it’s a way of thinking
about the world around us. Most of these scientific processes are thought
through and then published in a journal, but to read them you have to pay! Shouldn’t all this scientific knowledge
be FREE!? Firstly, science is mostly paid for by grants
from governments, non-profits, foundations, universities, corporations or others with
deep pockets. We did a video about it. But, even though the science was paid for,
that’s just the first half of the equation… the other half is the scientific journal. The first journals were published over 350
years ago as a way to organize new scientific knowledge, and that continues today. According to the International Association
of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, 2.5 million new scientific papers are published
each year in over 28,000 different journals. A new paper is published every 20 seconds. (and you thought we’d run out of stuff for
DNews 😉). Researchers need others to read their paper
so it can affect their field. So, they freely send their treasured manuscripts
to journals for peer review and publication. When a manuscript comes in, specialists select
and send the best manuscripts to volunteer experts in the field who are “carefully
selected based on… expertise, research area, and lack of bias” for peer review. After that, the papers are copy-edited, compiled
into an issue of the journal, physically printed and then shipped and/or published online! They’re, like, the nerdiest magazines in
the world. All this costs money… According to a study in PLOS One this whole
process can cost 20 to 40 dollars per page, depending on how many papers the journal receives
and how many they have to reject. Someone has to pay for that, and there are
three ways this can happen: authors can submit for free and readers/subscribers pay (called
the traditional model), or authors pay and readers get it for free (called open-access),
or both authors and readers pay!English-language journals alone were worth $10 billion dollars
in 2013! I know what you’re thinking, just put them
on the internet! Save on shipping, like newspapers and magazines! Well, even though publishers don’t have
to print and ship big books of papers anymore, they often still do. And, even if the journals were only online,
servers and bandwidth need to be paid for, and that ain’t cheap. Publishing requires dollah bills, y’all
and someone has to pay, and everyone gets their money differently… For example: the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS) publishes the Science journals, and the Public Library
of Science publishes PLoS One among others; both are nonprofits. But, while PLOS uses an open-access (free
to you) model, Triple-A-S publishes six journals: five with a traditional model (you pay) and
one open-access. Plus, there are for-profit journals like Macmillan
Publishers, who own the journal Nature (and a mix of traditional and open access options). And the giant Reed Elsevier (now called RELX)
publishes over 2000 journals some of which are open-access and some are traditional! So, though some are non-profits, they don’t
always give it to YOU for free, and those that do still can charge researchers up to
2900 dollars to publish! While others make money off scientific research
which makes some people feel icky. The whole thing is confusing. Asking “what is worse: for-profits charging
universities or readers for access, or open-access charging authors?” Shrug. The debate rages. Many scientists argue as the peer review is
provided for free by the scientific community, and the papers are provided for free by the
scientific community; access to the papers should. be. free. The EU agrees, ordering any publically-funded
papers to be made free by 2020; pushing toward open access to science! In the US, where many of the papers originate,
some scientists are calling for boycotts on for-profit publishing. In the end, there was a time when practitioners
needed a physical reference to the latest scientific achievements. In the days before the internet, getting a
journal in the mail must have been both exciting and illuminating, but now, thanks to digital
publishing… this whole pay-for-science model is wont to change… People WANT the knowledge to be free, but
no one knows how to do it. As y’all know, more research is always needed,
but should that research be behind a paywall? Let us know down in the comments, make sure
you subscribe so you get more DNews everyday. You can also come find us on Twitter, @seeker. But for more how much science actually costs,
watch this video.

100 thoughts on “All Scientific Papers Should Be Free; Here’s Why They’re Not”

  1. Publishing costs are fixed costs. Massively reducing charges to view will allow many more people to access the journals while still recovering the costs. Also advertising and other means of revenues should be explored. Journals should be economically accessible to both authors and readers. And it should be exclusively online. If a researcher does not use the internet, the person should not be researching!!! And who needs to subscribe to a 200 page journal if the person finds just 20-30 pages worth of material of interest? One can just get the papers printed. It would be cheaper.

  2. If the process costs 40$ per page, doesn't that pale in comparison to how much researchers are funded by companies and organisations for their work?
    That can be included in the sponsorship costs, no?

  3. I guess it all depends on the Ultimate Goals. IF I were a Scientist who wanted to continue my research & development, I'd put together all that I've done so far, both successes & failures, & share them so I can continue my work(s). I could go with the plan where I invest in the publication & then I expect to be paid for each sold publication (each copy is worth one raw book plus enough interest to pay me back, up to 100% because of how much I've paid the publisher, & then split 50/50). The amount of Profit should be enough for 'Rainy Days', Charities, and/or Business Expansion and/or Improvements.

  4. This is an important issue. But it goes beyond just the what pay model is used. As it stands now there seems to be STRONG evidence that content/results are being favored (or not) not due to facts and science but due other influences. Thus we are getting a slew of reports like "water has no calories!" OK, its true and factual… but does it add to knowledge?… nope but publishers love it, it doesn't "rock the boat". So we get stuff like, "New use for old drug!, it reduces wrinkles too!"…

  5. They should be hosted online for free, but feature heavy advertising like YouTube – probably mainly targeting Scientists but hey they are consumers too right 😘 Problem solved.

  6. How about scientific research and scientists receive their salary/funding from grants (whether it'd be from governments, corporations, NGOs, institutes, etc) and the journals be published for free with the publishers receiving a cut of the grant money to compensate for publishing costs.

    Alternately, scientists can publish their findings for free online should they so choose so long as they still receive funding and salary from the one paying them the grants.

  7. It's nice to know that a lot of scientific journals are hindering scientific progress because of their price gouging.
    Why not just go all out, eh? I mean, why not make it so that you have to have 1 subscription which has a monthly cost just to have the privilege of paying per paper to review and then if they say yes, paying again per approved paper to get it published, and then they have to pay another subscription per monthly basis even though they're already paying monthly subscription just to be able to have the privilege of being able to pay per copy of their own published papers, and general readers of the journal's journal articles have to pay a monthly subscription fee to have the privilege of being able to pay per copy per journal article?
    Maximum price gouging!!

  8. Just Rephrasing. Some of the greatest inventions of our time came from interest of people in high positions in betterment of science and arts or some really motivated current world leaders which are trying to achieve greater good for society so why not simply government collect the tax and let scientific community decide what to fund for as people said that why to invest in space travel instead of agriculture but later realised that those satellites launched help in getting better forecast and planning for better yield .

  9. If for example someone find a new infectious disease, publish it, ask people to pay, those who cant pay cant prevent the disease, cause more spread of the disease and so on. If I published a paper, I just want to make sure everyone else read what I have discovered. Profit is not a concern is sharing knowledge. When profit became the priority, we know where will science go in the future. And this also one of the factor that cause more pseudoscience fact to spread, because the real sciences are now only accessible to those with money and interest in science, while the pseudoscience are free for all.

  10. A few things
    1) Most academics and scientists have access to journals already
    2) True scientific papers are very difficult to read. If you are not educated in the subject, you have no business reading them. This is what leads to fake news stories, like 'coffee causes cancer' or some crap like that.
    3) I think the best way to convey news is to have experts read the journals and publish a summary article for the public to read. This is done to a certain extent now, but most of the time the people writing the article is not an expert in the field. Look back at number 2 on why this is a problem.

  11. Nah, come on. Yes bandwidth costs money, but text? As just plain ascii text you could put every medical paper in the world onto a thumbstick. Hyperbole yes, but the point is that saying the cost of the bandwidth stops the industry from sharing text information is weak. People wanting to make money off other people's work is the simple truth.

  12. We should have a science tax. Use it to pay for basic tech for all and accurate unbiased information on the web.

  13. If most science is publicly funded, why not turn to those same sources of funding to fund the publication of scientific research. Seems a no brainer to me.

  14. Someone has to select the best papers for peer review, oversee that peer review and select the papers that deserve publication after peer review. The journal has to be printed and distributed. All this costs money. I suspect that the EU may see a significant drop in papers that the EU has paid for getting published, because these journals can't afford to operate at a loss. They may find that the papers that do get peer reviewed and published will be publish by non-EU publications. In fact the EU journals may find themselves surviving by publishing foreign papers.

  15. The thought of a brilliant kid or adult out there getting stopped in their own research because of a paywall is making me sad, imagine if that kid/adult would otherwise invented a cure for a disease or a million other possible inventions.
    Only the simple reason of being more educated as a person, getting stopped not reaching ones potential because a paywall is reason enough to take those walls down . tear down this wall! ich bin ein educater

  16. Bullshit man! I like DNews a lot but this is a bit off. There sure are well known ways to monetize especially if you are publishing on the internet, just put ads like Google and other companies always do. There are some publishers already working with this model where, if printed then pay, if not printed than free (with ads on site). If the consumer doesn't pay, they are the product. So why pay twice?

  17. Scientific papers/knowledge should not be free. One should not be automatically entitled to another's hard work. Scientific inclusion should be seen more as a service than a human right.

  18. they should put ads on the side of the papers and you can pay to get rid of them, that way you make money of everyone and everyone still gets to see it.

  19. There is a solution for that. There is a new open blockchain-based social-media site, which rewards content creators for content: http://steemit.com/

    This model could be taken and used in similar network build for science publications.

  20. After over 30 years of independent research I have invented a unifying physics theory which will permanently replace aether, classical, relativity, quantum, the standard model and string, theory. Its physically logical assumptions and implications simply and intuitively explain more fundamental physics phenomena more logically. I am offering my theory for an historic temporary sale, satisfaction guaranteed, to 1 exclusive 1st owner, after which I will publish it for sale worldwide.

    This video mostly considers the topic of payment, for providing access to the published results of scientific research, to cover publication costs. But publication costs are not the only issue. Even though I have paid for all my own theory research for over 30 years, some people become incensed that I am offering my theory, not for free, but for sale. They don’t seem to understand that science has never been free. Attention some people: Scientists support themselves and their families by being paid to do science. But what is perhaps worse than this misunderstanding by some people, is that the science community has no organization whatsoever which will evaluate and purchase an independently invented theory for its fair value. Imagine if Einstein, or Darwin, had insisted on fair pay for their independently invented theories. As a result, they might never have published, and no one would have benefited from the use of their theories. This situation keeps independent theory researchers either out of the science system, or at best, robs them of the value of their work. I suggest a government, or for-profit, institution which will, for a payment, happily evaluate any independently invented theory, and immediately offer to buy it for its evaluated fair value and publish it. In this way, all independent theorists will immediately become part of the science system, and will each pay for the evaluation and publication of their own theories. Also, as a result, the best independents will earn the most, the worst will lose their own money, and everyone will benefit immediately from all successful independent theory research.

    You can find my 5 videos using the 3 search keywords: matter theory marostica. Please note, you will not learn my theory from these videos, although you will learn about many of its important consequences.

  21. I think when scientific paper free to read, people will be lazy to be curious. It's only work for scientist who reads for them paper

  22. Why don't we have a wikipedia of scientific papers, with only recognized good scientists allowed to become editors?

  23. scientific method proves we dont spin, just saying. The globe is a lie. how does water curve on the globe model but it always finds its level in real life?

  24. Make the paper version readers pay for the paper version and the internet version for free. what about server? 2.5 millions article a year is nothing and can be paid by fund raising. Believe it or not, the people reading these kind of papers are not stupid. We'll pay. Paying for an article that didn't help you in your research is frustrating. Finding a college account when you're not in college anymore is difficult. This whole thing needs to change.

  25. The money must come from somewhere, so let the authors and publishers decide for their works. Artificial pricing and forcing
    "free" anything never works out well.

  26. I think papers should become free after some time, so it's more of a "pay for early access" type of thing rather than anything.

  27. Pfft it's not free because people are greedy and want money. Look at wikipedia, yeah I know the information there isn't only from experts but anyone, but it could be. If wikipedia only was say for actual journals it would still be free as it always has. That site must get a LOT of traffic and its all paid for by donations.

  28. Sorry if this was already posted (couldn't find it) but first, thanks for the story. Second, while it's true publishing costs money, you neglected to mention that commercial publishers tend to charge rates using a pricing scheme similar to kidnapping. Highly regarded journals can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year and universities must pay the ransom or be left out of the scholarly conversation. Not to mention names, but some "academic" publishers have ranked among the most profitable corporations worldwide in the past, and these always increasing costs are a major reason why a college education has become impossible for many otherwise-worthy working-class students who lack top grades.

  29. I work in the IT industry and unless you're a bank you can easily outsource your server, database, and bandwidth to Microsoft, google, and HP for really cheap. These are documents not 4k videos and documents are much smaller than pretty much any type of files out there. Regardless it does require money even though it's not much, so we could watch ads to pay for the platform and the coding. The reason why they're so expensive is because It's a big business and the profit margins are huge, paying nothing for someone else's work and charging an arm and a leg to let someone read things you got for free.

  30. The issue is not that publishers charge money for access to their publications, but that they charge as much as they do. If you're a professional scientist, working in industry or academia, your personal access to published papers is effectively free because your institution picks up the tab for the journal subscriptions. (How academic institutions get their funds is more complex than the average citizen is aware, and off-topic here). The problem is that if you're a "civilian" who wants to read a scientific paper that isn't "open-access", then you're faced with a cost of something like $50 for a few pages. This pricing is aimed at industrial customers whose pockets are deep because such costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer. Scientific publishers don't seem to understand that there is a market for their material in the public at large, and that they could sell a hell of a lot more copies of their articles if they charged a nominal few bucks.They've already covered their initial production costs – the rest is apparently just greed or stupidity. But some university libraries will let you access their resources for a modest annual fee. Just my opinion, as they say.

  31. Taxpayers should pay. Everybody pays into taxes and public libraries already, or else the IRS will arrest you for tax evasion. The good thing is that the public libraries are kept alive to offer "free" resources to patrons. They have physical and digital resources and have computing resources. With library computers, you can access the Internet through your public library and get on Google Scholar to find peer-reviewed scholarly articles and access them through the Interlibrary Loan or your library's academic databases. Great for Americans, because Americans already have a great, solid library system. I've heard that the people in Turkey are really limited in the number of libraries, let alone the amount of information that gets passed around and educated subject librarians on staff to help patrons and researchers.

    Now, the big question is, why you don't know this? Did you go to college/university? Just about every university student knows that the university has an academic database. Bigger universities may have the money to buy several journals just for their students. Public libraries may have substantially less resources, but that doesn't mean you can't get them through the ILL and consult their own subject librarians.

  32. My job or school has always been able to provide the papers. It's really the organisations paying. I do agree they should not be for profit.

  33. Science data should be published for free, paid by tax payers. if government were to do it, it would cost too much. so provide a grant to organizations that would publish and maintain the system for publishing, reviewing, etc. With stipulation that that organization be completely transparent about exactly how the grant money is spent to offer the service.

  34. I'd say "Have the governments of the UN or the EU or the US pay for these", as spreading the costs to all nations above a certain GDP would make it a really tiny portion to each. However, I've been looking at the US and UK government recently and… well, that way lies madness, corruption, and unfathomable ineptitude.

  35. Those stupid ass justification he gives for those looters… DNews just lost its credibility value for me (I suspect they being lobbied)

  36. Simple suggestion. Makes the journals free to academic institutions immediately on publishing. Businesses have no problem paying to remain cutting edge, as well as those with the money to keep up. After a reasonable period, say 1 year after publishing, then the archived journal becomes freely available to all in a digital only format.

  37. I know why it's not free. Nothing is free. But why are they so damn expensive? Of course it's business. The research work is paid for buy tax money, researchers did all the hard work, but these publishers make huge profits.

  38. Motherfucker scientific knowledge must be free. Thats why schools are free. Curiosity belongs to humans and this must be free.

  39. If we could have access to any knowledge we would live on Mars, found a cure for AIDS, cancer, dementia and many other diseases …. It's sad …

  40. Let the subscription publisher die a painful death. I'm just an interested citizen (no corporation, no student anymore) and there is no way to read interesting articles without going bankrupt. Politicans talk about lifelong learning but how should i do this? Yeah books but research is where the real fun of learning is.

  41. You dumb ass… They could easily publish findings on the internet without having to pay anyone. Ever heard of Youtube comments? Who the hell am I paying to publish my awful opinion on the matter? Nobody… You are half right and half full of SHIT. Scientists, researchers, and publishers could easily, publish all findings for free online. They do not because of course they want money. That's why you find awesome websites that post their findings for free. Good luck finding them though.

  42. Seeker always pushing the "approved" message for the ruling class. Sometimes entertaining, sometimes pure propaganda!

  43. What websites should do is mine cryptocurrency on your computer while you are viewing the published paper.

  44. Imagine a Wikipedia charging $20 for viewing a single article. No they just ask for donation few times a year to run the world's largest knowledge base. I am happy to support them.

  45. There's much more to this than accessibility. Besides making profits the exercise unearned control over careers and the directions in Science. I become incensed when I find that some fat-cat publisher has made a profit from something that I contributed freely to humanity , my motive being that I was a Scientist and that was something that was attendant. The for profit publishers should be totally eliminated from the loop that reach far beyond the ones that you mention.

  46. The whole system of publishing papers and having journals is archaic and out of touch with how science works.
    Only positive results get published, but science is 90% failing and understanding why. Therefore it is important to share your failures with other scientists as well. If you have failed at a certain experiment, other people shouldn't fail doing exactly the same thing. Moreover they should be able to see what you did, so they can try a different approach or spot a mistake you made.
    I think a more appropriate take on scientific publishing in the modern world would be a free open-access database, where every scientist can share their results regardless of success or failure. Modern search algorithms are so advanced that other scientist working in the same field would have no trouble finding relevant information. Also, since everyone could see a detailed documentary of an experiment, results could easily be validated by other scientists in order to prevent fraud.
    Scientists today, especially PhD students, are under constant pressure to publish good results in respectable journals in order to make themselves stand out from the masses. This is not how the scientific community should look like and it is time for a change.

  47. Our intellectual heritage is being fraudulently, illegitimately, and thus illegally
    corporate-captured by a corrupt publishing industry composed of
    disgusting grifters. The cost to our economy and technological
    development by privatizing what should be open-source knowledge will be
    in the trillions and possibly immeasurable if we sell off knowledge and
    technology to the highest bidder and create technological
    feudalism…which is where this is all heading. The terror and cruelty
    and stagnation in progress that humanity suffered under the monarchies
    and nation fascist states after monopolizing lethal weapons technologies
    in our history, will be nothing in comparison to what we will suffer if
    we let the elites again gain monopolistic control of modern technology,
    quantum computing, AI, and other knowledge for their own nefarious
    purposes. Aaron Schwartz was truly a hero, and ahead of his time.

  48. All information is free just like love but it's only people that believe they can capitalize from it, and they do, who turn either into a twisted form from which they came. It's no longer priceless and gifted but transformed into something that has seemingly human value to it when the Truth is that it's become corrupt. This is why it is important that the information that one does behold is Truly valuable rather than beholding a mass amount of information that has no value unto one's self. Smarter does not always equate to better off.

  49. Let scientists get a real job and then publish their findings for free (also include data sources, the data file and code if they modelled anything).

  50. Of course the foundation of the "facts".i.e.the research , should absolutely not be behind a paywall that only a select privileged group can access.
    There are various 'open access' frameworks that could be used. Of course open access to information could be problematic implementationally .However, Anyone whom maintains the view that the information acquired via scientifc research, should only be restricted to any particular group / organisations etc is a hypocrite ( though understandable as self interest often conflicts with the common good) . Hypocrisy is a "red flag" for interpreting any area of human social psychology where justice is not the central driver of a individuals or groups agenda.
    Scientific evidence is far too important to be fed ( at the greedy disposal of) into the usual economic machine. So, eventually scientific information could be ring fenced by modern cultures as a free to access resource ( e.g. Like public library's , inc internet access , as access to info, overall, contributes towards a public/common good) . Of course that movement towards more open forms of sharing information and other resources is already well underway.
    For humans , amongst other large social animals "United we stand" is systematically the formula for success.

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