Information gatekeeping – Professional lit behind the pay wall

Want to view the latest peer reviewed top industry publication for free? Generally the answer is….

Whilst it seems that we have as an industry embraced blogs, twitter, tumblr and everyother online social tool for sharing our ideas I’m always more than a little bit frustrated when someone says ‘you should turn that into an article for [insert the name of a paid publication here]’.

These paid publications seem to regarded above all else. But why? The answer seems to be a bit ‘thats how its always been done’ and a bit they’re edited and peer reviewed. Now this is fine but I don’t like the final criteria that often comes hand in hand with the other two – that it costs. Don’t get me wrong – the cost doesn’t equal presitige but it also doesn’t make sense. Outside of a minimal maintenance cost (cos I know urls etc cost $$) it doesn’t make sense that there should be a paywall in place. Why? Well 99.999% of the time the writer isn’t paid, the editor isn’t paid, the peer reviewers aren’t paid. Who are paid (and make a profit) – the publishers. This cost is generally justified by the fact that you get a hardcopy subscription.  So here’s my little idea – lets ditch the paper subs – and make our work free or so cheap its practically free because it really doesn’t make sense that we are putting our stuff behind a paywall.

Okay so there’s my rant. Just to let you know I’m an idealist but also a realist. Often it does make sense to publish in a paywall publication cos thats where your target audience is. If you make that choice (like I have) fine. But I also make a choice that I have and retain all rights for republication and use that right. Publish your work in that journal but also make it freely available either on your blog or another open access publication. Looking for an open access journal? Take a look at

Lets make our professional/industry lit free!


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