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Open access: UCal severs links with Elsevier/Big Pharma loves open access

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The University of California has been promoting free access to publicly funded research:

The University of California has ended its subscription to journals published by Elsevier, citing a failure to reach an agreement that would lower fees and prioritize open access to its scholars’ work, the UC system announced yesterday (February 28). The decision to stop paying for access to Elsevier’s journals came after eight months of contract negotiations. Carolyn Wilke, “With No Open Access Deal, UC Breaks with Elsevier” at The Scientist

There are suggestions that other institutions will follow suit.

Imagine being so backward as to think that the public who funded the research should get to read what was funded without paying a fortune… Sure, maybe there’ll be some surprises. A few may think that sexual politics among dogs is not an important research topic compared to affordable prevention/treatment/cure for devastating tropical diseases. And now they know! Pandora’s box cubed…

Why does Big Pharma love open access publishing?

In a literature analysis, researchers found that the proportion of open-access papers published by 23 large drug companies, such as Pfizer and Roche, almost doubled between 2009 and 2016, and has overtaken the proportion of freely available papers published generally in medicine-related fields. The study was posted to the SocArXiv preprint server on 7 February1. …

Industry’s greater emphasis on green open access might also reflect a strategy of getting information out quickly, rather than worrying about publishing in high-profile journals. “They don’t need the imprimatur of prestigious journals,” Siler says. “They’re not playing the academic status game.” Matthew Warren, “Big pharma is embracing open-access publishing like never before” at Nature

No, Big Pharma is not playing the academic status game. But also, many of the people who might need the information would not have access to a university library that subscribes to expensive publications. How about people who are making decisions about cancer treatments who would like to find out if studies they have heard about were replicated?

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See also: A Science Journal’s Editors Resign En Masse Over Open Access Foot-Dragging

Pay wall for science articles: Yes or no?

and

How Unpaywall is opening up science

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