Aaron Swartz who was fined $1 million for downloading academic journals from JSTOR, later committed suicide 9 years ago.
While information should be free, publishing houses have a massive monopoly over information dissemination.
While I was a student at RWTH Aachen in Germany in 2018-19, I couldn’t access the latest Elsevier journals on ScienceDirect as negotiations between German universities and Elsevier reached a dead end. Even the universities in Sweden lost their access to these journals. The Elsevier journals are still blocked in German universities.
One of the major reasons for failed negotiation involves researchers paying to access their own research publications. Ironic, right?
𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐭
A highway was made with your taxed money. The people who built the highway (academics) weren’t paid but instead, they have to pay the company in charge for making the highway to allow them to make the highway. The people who supervise the road quality (Peer reviewers) weren’t paid either. Then, of course, you, the end-user, have to buy annual subscriptions to use that highway.
Fact: Elsevier makes more profit than Netflix!
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐜𝐢𝐇𝐮𝐛 𝐖𝐚𝐲
SciHub has always been a way around this for many researchers. Alexandra Elbakyan’s Master’s thesis resulted in SciHub. This is perhaps, one of the greatest and least appreciated Master’s thesis of all time.