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Making Journals Free (zenodo.org)
157 points by panic 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 62 comments

The real issue for the publishers isn't a few people on the web linking to archived versions of papers published in their journals, it's when major institutions start dropping subscriptions, which likely add up to tens of thousands of dollars per publisher per university.

Any decent research institution's library will have archived paper copies of journals bound into books dating back 100 years or more, and that's basically the model for the future as well. Going 100% digital isn't such a great idea, due to bitrot and so on, it's still best to have paper archives stored somewhere.

Then, someone has to pay for the print runs on real paper, the work of organizing and publishing each issue, etc. So, how much does that cost per issue, what's the average size of a print run, how many staff have to be paid full time to keep the journals coming off the presses, what kind of profit margins are the publishers extracting from the copyrights, etc., how much do those glossy images on high-quality paper suitable for archiving for decades really cost, etc.

The overall benefits to human civilization of having all the information in research articles available to anyone with a terminal, however, that seems to outweight the other considerations. Maybe some kind of state-subsidized publication system is the answer? It's hardly a competitive market after all.

Many academic libraries have thrown out their bound periodicals in favor of JSTOR. This is often because of space constraints and building costs, so it's ultimately up to school administrators who would rather the library just pay a subscription than maintain their own infrastructure.

On a somewhat related note, small college libraries are utterly abused by journal subscription costs, but it actually varies significantly by discipline. The American Chemical Society is notorious for strong arming libraries into paying unreasonably high sums, and some library directors think of them more as racketeering syndicate than a professional organizarion whose purpose is ostensibly to help chemists. The odd thing is that american physical society journals are much cheaper, and many are open access (which the APS pioneered), plus there is ArXiV where everyone posts their preprints publicly. Physics research is no less costly to publish than chem research, so the difference must boil down to culture and/or incentive structures with these organizations. If one group believes that knowledge should be given freely, and another believes knowledge is a product worth whatever people are willing to pay, they will come up with different systems.

My point is that there are alot of wrinkles to the problem, and many avenues of possible attack. Personally i think if we could get all disciplines on the same page as the APS, we would be more than halfway there.

Edit: it looks like the ACS has softened its position on posting preprints!

I wonder if there is a comparison between APS and ACS, the authors don’t mention APS in the article.

This is what national copyright libraries are for. Universities shouldn't all be keeping archival copies. About the only thing they should have bound is their local PhD research which is rarely "published" but frequently hidden gems.

Bitrot? You talk as if it’s an unsolveable problem..

Indeed. Store it all on some high-to-low blu-ray, and the media is good for 10000 years. Way less rot than paper.

Until you don't have a machine that can easily read that media.

I thought a bit like this until I married a historian and learned a bit more about how archives work. I assumed that digitizing everything would be a huge boon for the maintainability of the archive. But after now speaking with a bunch of archivists it seems like digital archives have a lot more problems than I originally expected and are way more underfunded than I expected.

The ability to read 1’s and 0’s will be around in 1000 years time. It will be easier to convert bluray to some new format when bluray reaches end of life. Bet you could find vhs schematics, if you couldn’t find an active vhs digitiser right now if you tried.

Will it? Will there be companies that make optical disk readers? Because it isn't enough to just say "well, they could read it." Chronically underfunded archivists need to be able to do it.

Do you honestly believe that bluray players will suddenly become unobtainable without people migrating to a more superior format first? Hard copies are vulnerable to literal rot, natural disaster, unintentional or intentional destruction, etc. Sotrage is measured in gigabytes or terabytes, where a single gigabyte would be sufficient to archive most medium sized libraries.

If you truly think that hard copies are less likely to last 1000 years (assuming redundancy / tech rollover) over soft copies, you lack a complete grasp on technology.

I used to believe what you believe. It seemed ridiculous that any other thing was possible. Then I spoke to an unusually large number of professional archivists who believe that given their limited funding digitization as a storage medium rather than a distribution method for a subset of the archive has very serious problems. Paper is actually remarkably resilient.

This isn't a question of technology. This is a question of archives, funding, and businesses.

I believe the fundamental answer is breadth. Breadth in formats, in storage methods, the more the merrier. Analog, digital, physical, the more different ways we have something archived, the more likely it is that the future will be able to access it. Archive video in every major video codec and at least one analog tape format as well. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of preservation, let it be but one tool. Especially with video, it’d be better to have the only usable copy of a work in 500 years be an analog tape, than only having digital formats available that may or may not be decodeable. There is no perfect answer, because it may very well be possible that there are also no working VTRs at that time, but with multiple formats you have multiple ways to access the content

Cost! Digitization efforts are barely funded as is. This is again one of those things that archivists would love to do but they look at their shoestring budgets and determine that other things are a higher priority.

I don't need my university's subscription for the 100 years of archived copies of journals, I need it so that I have immediate, low-friction access to the full versions of papers published last week (which otherwise would be behind the publishers' paywall) - and which probably never ever existed or will exist in paper form, as many respectable publication sources nowadays are digital-only.

Journal pricing DOES NOT MAKE SENSE to third world countries. That is why scihub is a gift.

Last week I came across some random weird article that had a jounrla doi. $40 I was told. Fine but in India, minimum wage is ₹500 and $40 is ₹3360 which is like 7 days of minimum wage for a single article. Absurd.

We have "universities" paying through the nose for a "subscription" but as a commoner who is not an academic and would like access to 'something', this is bad.

And the argument of "poor authors" doest even come up in this discussion so I am all for violating the "intellectual property of publishers", regardless of that making me a criminal or not. Sue my pauper ass.

Scihub is magic. Doi paste, boom. Read.

The “poor authors” is even funnier because almost any science/journal author will send you everything they ever wrote if you show even a tiny modicum of interest.

Seriously. I’ve come across things and sent an email as a complete rando and got back way more than I was expecting, including unpublished background details.

Completely agree with your assessment, but "minimum wage" doesn't mean the same thing in India as it does in the West - minimum-wage earners are not typically students here.

minimum wage is just an example. you pay $40 for what? 5 hours of minimum wage work time while in india that is 7 days? cost of "admission", that sort of thing.

this is just a reference point. Sure, any student who wants to do research "probably" already has access to "some" journals through their universities who pay through the nose for "institutional subscription", again, money that these third world institutions would rather use for actual work, as opposed to paying for elsevier. If instead of paying for a subscription, the university funds the research of a poor student? would that make more sense?

Yeah, like I said I completely agree. In fact it's not even convenient to wade through half a dozen publisher portals trying to find what you're looking for - my high-tier college had a subscription to all those journals but I still found myself using Sci-hub more often than not because of its sheer ease-of-use.

As much as I hate the current situation with academic publishers, they have one very valid point - prioritization.

They impose an artificial bottleneck on how many articles can get published, so "published in XXX" means "one of the top X papers in the area according to a reasonable metric".

We have all surely noticed how journalism turned to shit when we moved from printed physical copies (with bandwidth limit) to limitless clickbait-ridden "portals". Real decent journalism just cannot compete for readers' attention anymore.

There could be a reasonable middle ground - like mandated free access to individuals, or free access after a 3-year period or so, but completely killing the publishers would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

A publisher per se may be not needed. Upload some PDF.

But a curator and a reviewer are pretty important roles. One for selecting and surfacing the important and high-quality, the other fir checking soundness and weeding out poorly done stuff.

Those are the actual paid services of, say, Elsevier. The rest us cruft and rent-seeking.

Now the question: how well are these services rendered by the publishers? Can this be done more efficiently, with higher quality? If so, how? Are there examples?

Those services are provided by editors and reviewers to Elsevier for free. Reviewers and Editors are _not_ paid by the publishers.

That is why there was hope for flipping journals.

The experience of Gowers and co with Discrete Analysis shows that high quality selective journals outside of publishers are straightforward, and that we are overpaying publishers by a factor of ~100.


One problem is poorly done reviews. Especially since many reviewers are not being paid anything for their time and have the incentive to ward off competing researchers while being protected by anonymity. It seems hopeless since who else would the publisher go to to assess the quality of supposedly new pursuits of expertise knowledge? I've had experienced many strawman rejections back in the day that I just stopped trusting the publishing system.

I'd rather just upload a PDF and let the readers judge its credibility and let (positive) citations be the benchmark instead on trusting a handful of elite critics with unclear incentives.

And, as you say, the expensive publishing houses don't do anything to ensure high quality reviews. In grad school I had a paper rejected by a prestigious outlet because one reviewer thought that the experimental setup I used was too difficult and therefore they didn't trust that I was being honest about my results. They stopped just a step short of calling me a fraud. I was baffled that this was accepted by the publisher.

It was only later when I was tasked with performing reviews that I realized that almost exactly zero work is done by the publishers. It is just "well there's one Strong Reject so see-ya."

The reasonable middle ground is to decouple selection from publication. There is no reason that research should not be published at all while it's still undergoing review, or still getting rejected from the "top" journals. (Disclosure: I volunteer for https://Plaudit.pub, one effort to achieve this.)

I would also argue that "reasonable metric" in practice is more like "usually reasonable judgement by people with usually relevant knowledge".

I agree with you, but with reservations.

The existing model asks volunteer academics to rate papers on three principle axes: novelty, importance, and rigor. The journals don't do much here except find these academics and send them a handful of papers to look at. Further, novelty and importance seem to be overshadowing everything else in reviews and they are both extremely subjective and can entrench existing biases in a subfield. Whether this metric is "reasonable" is a bit contentious.

I agree with you that a system of open publishing plus some post-publish evaluation would be nice. But you don't really need the journals for this. Or you certainly don't need journals making billions in profit to do this.

Why do you assume the filtering/selection process has to be centralized?

Why not a decentralized rating (and commenting/reviewing) system by scientists for scientists? Similar to how Twitter wants to be a news filter for the masses by the masses.

A major (perhaps even the primary) consumer of the current ratings is the institutions of various governments providing funding for the scientists and the institutions; who are not really able to assess the quality independently (especially due to various perverse incentives making many such institutions likely to intentionally misassess the quality even if they had the diverse competence required) and also definitely not willing to trust the beneficiary institutions/scientists to assess the quality themselves.

And apparently they're willing to pay quite some overhead just to have a separate third party gatekeeper perform that function for them.

This is often not true, and if it was true it would be backwards.

Funding bodies also employ academics who are able to judge the quality of proposals or they solicit feedback from experts. You don't just write "I've got a bunch of first author papers in Science so you should fund my grant." This is important because if the only thing that funding agencies use is institutional reputation then we end up with an even larger percentage of funding only going to entrenched academics at a very small set of institutions.

I'm seeing KPIs for grants (and even for the whole programs of grants) as, for example, quantity of publications in top quartile impact factor according to e.g. Scopus and Web of Science.

They do not want to evaluate each publication separately or pay experts for a separate review of each publication (if they would, that could be a source of funding proper peer review instead of it being done by random volunteers) but rather defer to the existing ratings of the publication venues. They need a simple objectively measurable quantitative metric, not a complex qualitative one.

Given the financial incentive on publishing (publish or perish), I wouldn’t be surprised if a critical number of authors found a way to collectively take advantage of the rating system.

The proposal is not to let anyone just upload unlimited manuscripts.

The proposal is to ensure that papers published by publishers are free (as in beer) to access by the public at large. Publishers can and should continue to curate the best papers after appropriate peer review and typographical review.

Strange, I've been in academia for five years and not once have I seen the name of the journal/publisher being indicative of the quality of the article. Rather it's been the opposite - papers in lesser-known journals from no-name researchers have been more to-the-point and engaging reads in general than most of the HBR bloatfests that we were bombarded with in Business school.

We need to nationalize Elsevier and the other big publishers. Then we can make the accumulated knowledge of mankind available to all for free. After all, tax money funded almost all of the research anyway.

Is there any history of companies that can easily move internationally being nationalised? Because it's not some national physical infrastructure like railways or electrical grids. After all their operations are international and detached from their actual countries.

One interesting line would be to amend copyright laws, such that all publicly funded research (government grants or accredited universities) no longer has any copyright applicable, ex post facto. Private companies and private research institutions would still have copyright protection if they really want it (most I've read don't, I think they'd patent rather than charge for access).

Then sites like SciHub can not be blocked and even better ones can be built (UX wise) that rely on open source, donations for hosting etc without fear of extradition or anything. It could start out in one country and expand as others catch up in legislation.

I wonder how the response would be though from publishers. But realistically, if the public was informed that individual institutions are paying millions for simply prestige where journal editors are unpaid yet they make billions in net profit annually, funded by their tution fees and taxpayer money, I think people wouldn't stand for this. Especially as we've gone all digital, these publishers are selling journal names.

I don't know the full history of asset forfeiture, but of the two portable franchises I can remember that were being threatened with seizure under eminent domain, both of them easily sidestepped it by ... moving.

The first was the Baltimore Colts. After 6 losing seasons and extremely questionable management by owner Jim Irsay, attendance plummeted. Irsay had been considering moving the franchise in a bid to try and get financing for a newer, better stadium, and in exchange Baltimore threatened eminent domain seizure, and easily passed the measure in the legislature. Colts moved to Indianapolis before the seizure could become effective and left (literally) overnight.

The other was also in Maryland. The Netflix show House of Cards, which is of course "set" in DC, filmed quite a bit in neighboring locales of Virginia and Maryland because of DC's size and weird shape. The show was trying to angle for more tax breaks for filming, and the state responded with threat of seizure. The show briefly quit filming in Maryland in lieu of VA and DC scenes before the measure died in the general assembly.

There was another, relating to the LA Raiders, but I know that the California Supreme Court ultimately ruled against the state's efforts (despite finding that providing sporting entertainment was a legitimate function of government) and that's about all I know of that one.

This is a root truth and problem with a lot of “just do X” - it assumes everyone else will keep doing whatever it is they’re doing when things change.

Unless you at some point are willing to force people to do something at the point of a gun or money hose, people can just choose to wander off and do something else instead.

We can live with Elsevier's "intellectual property" as of today being on sci-hub and such. Going forward however, the academia needs to rethink the concept of publications entirely. The situation where the author pays to be published, for the publisher to arrange unpaid peer review (by people the author specified) is ridiculous, stopped scaling a while ago and benefits nobody.

The publisher could almost be replaced by a torrent tracker with some PKI for peer review. Then a researcher could create his own slice of knowledge by choosing works endorsed by keys he trusts/considers relevant to his area of research.

Nationalization would be a rather drastic step, and may be counterproductive. It would require considerable political capital. There are myriad other options.

We should begin with a broad understanding about the symptoms with the current dynamic as they impact various audiences. From there, we can work towards causes. After that, potential solutions can be weighed in terms of effectiveness, cost, and feasibility.

What do you think are the top 10 or 20 symptoms? From there, what are the 5 to 10 underlying causes? From that, what solutions are worth promoting?

I get added to paper as a supporting author for the work our group does. We’re NIH (national institute of Health) funded so anything we publish has to be public and free. Which is great. Pubmed is pretty great.

I get that people hate paying for non free journal articles and they are way to expensive. Even if you have access through your institution the process is clunky and terrible. The review process has given us good feedback. Of course my bosses are on the hook have to review others.

even though our articles are free to read, the journals still make money as we have to pay the journals for the free access.

At work we're starting a project that can literally reduce deaths (if it goes well, if people use it etc). It's a well studied field but half the papers are behind paywalls for journals we don't pay for. We pay for some of these journals but not all. I recognize people may not have a lot of sympathy in this case since my employer can just pay, but for, say, small startups trying to build on top of research these paywalls can be detrimental. In some cases crippling. I legitimately feel it slows the pace of human innovation: what's the point of doing research if only other researchers can view it? Don't you need industry to also build on top of the research? Sometimes people complain that if public money paid for the research then it should be freely available. I think that's only a partial solution. While researchers are judged by which journals they get their research into this will stay a problem. We need to develop alternative ways of measuring research significance divorced for big name journals.

January, 11, 2013 is the 10th years anniversary of Aaron Schwartz's death[1] and there's still a long way to get rid of such parasites


ITYM 2023, for the anniversary.

yes, you are right. Unfortunately, I cannot edit my post anymore :(

No worries.

I seriously think that research that isn't openly published should be viewed with more suspicion.

I favour a centralised approach for record-keeping, but a decentralised approach for paper storage, if that makes any sense.

E.g. if I were Emperor and could tear it all down and start again, we'd have either some kind of peer-to-peer network that maintained the paper bodies, and a centralised, institution-funded library of links (like SCOPUS/WoK/Google Scholar/ResearchGate but singular and funded by institution subscription) that is a central go-to for finding papers.

Then the links from that link library go to the P2P solution. For P2P, along the lines of Napster/TPB - torrents essentially, with nodes hosted by volunteers, universities etc.

We could potentially host copies of our own papers instead - I do, and be damned to the copyright etc - but as a sibling comment suggests, this is going to be unreliable and not sustainable in the long-term as sites die etc.

In terms of centralised tools, Google are doing a good job with Scholar but issues I've found are an absence of many older papers (pre-60s is a nightmare to find) and of course Google being Google, they're apt to set light to it all on a whim. They aren't reliable long-term custodians.

Technology can shift the costs and mentality around record keeping. This is exciting and certainly part of the story.

A specific concern about distributed / decentralized storage and network technology —- it shifts. When it does, it is not as simple as one centralized org doing an upgrade or migration or transition. So WRT decentralized tech, what will it take to keep it accessible and maintained under realistic futures?

For long-term archival, technology choices are insufficient. They matter, like I said above, in the sense they shape the usage patterns and benefits and costs. But for permanence (or something approaching it), decades-long sustained support and resources are needed.

Some options include: a government program, a governmental funding stream, or some kind endowment. All can ensure a stream of resources into the future, with various tradeoffs. Are there better alternatives? (What exists now at the US federal level? / What combination of organizations might make an endowment happen?)

Volunteers are nice supplements to institutional support, but cannot be expected to be the backbone.

What is the Library of Congress doing in this area? The National Archives? Presidential libraries? Those old ’boring’ agencies and institutions tend to have a good number of folks that work towards better ways. It may be slow, but when the shift happens, it isn’t subject to the whims of capital markets or herd-following investors.

I just want to add that this wouldn't preclude conferences and journals either - these can continue to exist under this model, but their research output gets added to the central link library and the torrent added to P2P. Attendees to conferences already pay fees - these can remain, which keeps conferences economically viable - and many journals charge too, and can keep the peer-review up so when a paper does hit the P2P solution it's tagged as coming from a particular journal and therefore is worthy of trust. Papers <- Journals <- P2P/library.

Seems like this should really link to the .pdf of the paper named in the title of the post. Instead, it's a link to a download page with several files and it's not immediately obvious that the paper is the focus of this post.

That said, a quick skim of the paper shows a breakdown of the market and profit margins of the big publishers of academic research (Elsevier et. al.) and how detrimental these parasites are. No big surprise to this audience, but nice to see the research.

> Seems like this should really link to the .pdf of the paper named in the title of the post. Instead, it's a link to a download page with several files and it's not immediately obvious that the paper is the focus of this post.

That's the standard practice in the academia. Instead of linking directly to the pdf, you link to a landing page that shows the context the article was published in. You can then use the reputation of the publication venue to judge whether the article is what it claims to be and whether it's worth skimming/reading.

The report seems to be mostly concerned with the market economy nature of scientific publishing, which is fair. That said, I find that obsession with publisher profit margins and boycotts is not constructive.

On the one hand, the important roles of journals (evaluation, archival, dissemination, etc) come at a cost (and are crucial to science). Running a journal costs time and money. That money must come from somewhere. Publishers don't have to be for profit, but if they are, they will naturally attempt to maximize margins. That is just capitalism. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Alternative, non-capitalistic business models for publishing science are possible. They should emerge and compete with for-profit models (1).

On the other hand, boycotts and illegal solutions (e.g. Sci-hub) are non constructive simply because they offer no solution. Sci-hub is made of 88 million published articles, "published", indeed, by those same publishers it is fighting against. What is the end goal?

I personally support an open, innovative, and transparent publishing infrastructure, but one that is sustainable in the long term and solution-driven. My two cents!

(1) Note: just being non-profit is not enough, if you don't have a scalable and sustainable solution. Also... if you are non-profit and your business plan is to be funded by charitable foundations created by billionaires via capitalistic means, what is the whole point of changing the system?

Even further. Can we ditch the goddamn pdf format. It's such a stupid limit to put on papers. I hope the future of journals and articles will become interactive much like Jupyter Notebooks. Jupyter Journal/Article pls.

A pdf is basically a digital sheet of paper and I like that. Download a pdf, you have it, you can print it (or not), and you can still look at it 50 years later. Download an interactive journal article: good luck downloading it in the first place. You can't print it. 10 years later you won't be able to open it.

> Can we ditch the <deity-referencing-expletive> pdf format. It's such a stupid limit to put on papers. I hope the future of journals and articles will become interactive much like Jupyter Notebooks. Jupyter Journal/Article pls.

How do you want this change to come about?

Are you promoting a mandate? Incentives? A change in expectations? Better technologies or formats? Something else?

Scientific publishers are basically the outsourced HR department of universities. Modern academic fields are too sprawling for professors to understand everything that's going on in their field. The members of a hiring committee or even a tenure committee often just don't really understand the work of the people they are evaluating. So they have to rely on journals, and metrics like how many popular publications people have.

It's a valuable service to do this evaluation work for academics. It's just a shame that the way we pay for it is to lock up research behind a paywall. But "publishing a PDF" is just not a very hard problem to solve at all. That isn't the difficult problem that Elsevier is solving. They are solving the difficult problem of filtering out which academics to hire.

Yes, thanks to the hard work of unpaid editors and reviewers.

Excellent business model.

Hm... I mostly read the introduction and have little interest in the rest of the work, as the introduction was a massive letdown. Especially the section on parasites of academic research. (Not only but partially because of the aggressive wording, making it read as an opinion piece masquerading as semi-scientific work.)

The analysis mentions the prestige of the journals as a (figurative) side note, but personally I believe that is the main part they sell to authors. It is also the reason why breaking the stranglehold is so hard and why the "just put it online" proposals/solutions I heard so often over the years didn't just magically dissolve publishers

The other part is the failure of an analysis in spoilage of public money. Comparing the margins to "giants like Google, Apple or Amazon" is meaningless, unless there is a reason to assume those giants have large margins for some reasons. First google result on high profit margin companies [1] goes from 42.9% up to 55% for the top 10, so even in a larger context the up to "close to 40%" is quite high. Although I am not sure how many of those top 10 are monopolies, which is implied by the conclusion from the 40%.

They also imply publishers don't really do anything anymore, while discussing those high margins. So what are they spending those 60% on?

Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of expensive publishing and subscribing for scientific journals and I think every author should use their rights to publish their works on arxiv and their personal and university website. I think the current system is a waste of time for many scientists in many ways (god did I hate rewriting the same paper for multiple conference tempaltes/lengths because of minor issue-rejections) and to some degree also money! I was in the "favorable" situation of not having to care about my scientific career in the final years of my phd, so I could publish in places without much regards to their prestige. But I believe the discourse does need a different direction. The later sections might address these issues and some have already been put into action.

Journals have a 'monopoly' on Prestige: Scientist hurt themselves by not going for reputable journals. Big funding agencies must require open publications or arxiv use or whatever to force journals to make exceptions on copyright transfer and scientists from being too lazy to use their rights to make their papers available. (Something I heard from many researchers.)

Some copyright transfers already have exceptions because US public funding requires something similar to this (at least that is what I got from reading the copyright form, I never worked with US public funding). So there is leverage that works.

If you want me to hate publishers for wasting public money, don't just tell me their profit margin is oh-so-high and they don't do anything because they no longer perform lectoring and type checking. Tell me what they do do with the remaining money and then, if you can, convince me that it is not worth anything or why it should not be handled by a private institution.

[1] https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/industry-trends/indu...

edit: after reading some more, especially the recommendations, I still feel mostly let down. The recommendations seem to me, to consist mostly of wishful thinking and pushing on the wrong end or simplified so much that they become worthless.

If you bury the important parts in the middle of a sea of unhelpful ones, they will get lost. The state of things did not just happen to be that way because people hate open knowledge. Project based positions and time limited contracts are a huge problem created through the whole structure of academia and its financing and will not be changed by "try to create more long term positions".

Even the good recommendations suffer from these problems. E.g. "For universities, research institutions, research funders, demand the results of research to be published in diamond open-access journals." I believe only one of those groups has the actual power to demand this in a meaningful way.

Finally the one recommendation I hate the most: "For internet service providers who are forced to block Sci-Hub, block in return the publishers who have sued Sci-Hub" no please don't. I believe ISPs should only restrict access when required to by law or courts and not insert their personal feelings about what those laws should be. But especially not as retalliation for lawsuits.

> So what are they spending those 60% on?


Unfortunately, for my point of understanding what journals do provide this is unhelpful, as salaries could still be spent on useful things.

I belive that blog posts like this focus on the wrong part to be convincing: What do journals provide and why do they have expenses that are this high? If we ran journals as non profits, should we expect cost to come down by the 27-39% (for the three publishers chosen in the blog post)?

If they want to be convincing for me, I believe they should focus on those remaining 61-73%, and why I, as a reader, should believe a different organization would reduce that in a meaningful way and how that should be financed. Making researchers do even more of the jounral busywork is a bad solution as well, even though it provides implicit financing, as it wastes even more time of researchers.

Not that I actually need convincing that an open knowledge model is better, I just prefer hearing good arguments on my side instead of infinite repeating of bad ones.

Share holder dividends. RELX is 2.21% Not sure why everyone forgot capitalism in this.

I don't know much about accounting, but as far as I know, dividends are not expenses in any way and therefore are part of the profit margin, not the remaining 60%.

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