Make all UK academic journals a 'free to view' commons.

Posted on 06-12-18 by Munhaj Khan Number of votes: 0 | Number of comments: 0

The UK has some fantastic world class research institutions & academic researchers which this country should be rightly proud of. Unfortunately much of the content of their research is published in academic journals. Now you may say 'so what? Privately owned journals means paying for a private service?' But this is where your assertion is incorrect. For a start the one's financing that academic's research is us the taxpayer (i.e. their university department, the equipment and salary of the researcher carrying out that research), the one 'peer reviewing' that academic's work is another state-employed academic who has volunteered to review the first academic's research. Lastly the ones mainly viewing this content are university students doing research on whose behalf the state pays to enable those students to view that academic content. So from the production of the content to it being 'peer reviewed' to being view by students you the taxpaer is paying for the entire service. 

 

Yet for some reason, because the contents of these researches have to be published on an electronic platform the intellectual property right of that academic research becomes the property right of the platform publishers whose actual contribution to the academic research veers between 0% to very negligible and yet those few private firms own 100& the property rights of that academic research and not the academics who came up with it or reviewed or their universities or university students that viewed that academic research for their degree course.

 

This is an injustice eloquently explored by George Monbiot (see link below):

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/13/scientific-publishing-rip-off-taxpayers-fund-research

 

Excerpt from the above link: "...knowledge should be disseminated as widely as possible. No one would publicly disagree with these sentiments. Yet governments and universities have allowed the big academic publishers to deny these rights. Academic publishing might sound like an obscure and fusty affair, but it uses one of the most ruthless and profitable business models of any industry...because scientists need to be informed about all significant developments in their field, every journal that publishes academic papers can establish a monopoly and charge outrageous fees for the transmission of knowledge."

 

In order to address this problem I propose that: 

 

1) All academic research publshed in UK journals by UK-based academics or UK universities be made 'free to view' for the public.

 

2) That all academic research publshed in UK journals by UK-based academics or UK universities be made into a 'UK public Commons' (which every UK citizen is an automatic member of & whose 'intellectual goods' we the public have an automatic right to access and view free of charge because it is we have paid the scientific researchers who came up with the research from our taxes not the journal publisher).

 

3) Any revenue generated from the findings of this academic research published in all UK journals by UK-based academics or UK universities be split 50/50 between 'the Commons' (see policy number 2) & either the academic researcher who came up with that research or the university that employed that researcher & provided them the facilitities (e.g. equipment & lab) to enable that research.

 

4) Use the revenues generated by the 'Commons' owning the intellectual property rights of these academic research findings to fund the distribution of these academic findings to relevant UK public institutions (e.g. patients & nurses/doctors of NHS, teachers in UK schools, users & staff of  Labour's "National Education Service" & "National Social Care Service") who would practically benefit from it's findings.

Referring to: Early Years, Education and Skills

The Early Years, Education and Skills Policy Commission looks at issues relating to children’s wellbeing, development and care, as well as education training and skills from childhood through adulthood.

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