-- "Exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers, Harvard University
has encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely
available through open access journals and to resign from publications
that keep articles behind paywalls. A memo from Harvard Library
to 2,100 teaching and research staff called for action
after warning it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many
large journal publishers, which bill the library $3.75m a year.
extraordinary move thrusts one of the world's wealthiest and most
prestigious institutions into the center of an increasingly fraught
debate over access to the results of academic research, much of which is
funded by the taxpayer. The outcome of Harvard's decision to take
on the publishers will be watched closely by major universities around
the world and is likely to prompt others to follow suit.
from Harvard's faculty advisory council said major publishers had
created an "untenable situation" at the university by making scholarly
interaction "fiscally unsustainable" and "academically restrictive",
while drawing profits of 35% or more. Prices for online access to
articles from two major publishers have increased 145% over the past six
years, with some journals costing as much as $40,000, the memo said.
More than 10,000 academics have already joined a boycott of Elsevier
the huge Dutch publisher, in protest at its journal pricing and access
policies. Many university libraries pay more than half of their journal
budgets to the publishers Elsevier, Springer and Wiley."