How a Browser Extension Could Shake Up Academic Publishing by Lindsay McKenzie.
From the post:
Open-access advocates have had several successes in the past few weeks. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started its own open-access publishing platform, which the European Commission may replicate. And librarians attending the Association of College and Research Libraries conference in March were glad to hear that the Open Access Button, a tool that helps researchers gain free access to copies of articles, will be integrated into existing interlibrary-loan arrangements.
Another initiative, called Unpaywall, is a simple browser extension, but its creators, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar, say it could help alter the status quo of scholarly publishing.
“We’re setting up a lemonade stand right next to the publishers’ lemonade stand,” says Mr. Priem. “They’re charging $30 for a glass of lemonade, and we’re showing up right next to them and saying, ‘Lemonade for free’. It’s such a disruptive, exciting, and interesting idea, I think.”
Like the Open Access Button, Unpaywall is open-source, nonprofit, and dedicated to improving access to scholarly research. The button, devised in 2013, has a searchable database that comes into play when a user hits a paywall.
When an Unpaywall user lands on the page of a research article, the software scours thousands of institutional repositories, preprint servers, and websites like PubMed Central to see if an open-access copy of the article is available. If it is, users can click a small green tab on the side of the screen to view a PDF.
Sci-Hub gets an honorable mention as a “..pirate website…,” usage of which carries “…so much fear and uncertainty….” (Disclaimer, the author of those comments is one of the creators of Unpaywall (Jason Priem).)
Hardly. What was long suspected about academic publishing has become widely known: Peer review is a fiction, even at the best known publishers, to say nothing of lesser lights in the academic universe. The “contribution” of publishers is primarily maintaining lists of editors for padding the odd resume. (Peer Review failure: Science and Nature journals reject papers because they “have to be wrong”.)
I should not overlook publishers as a source of employment for “gatekeepers.” “Gatekeepers” being those unable to make a contribution on their own, who seek to prevent others from doing so and failing that, preventing still others from learning of those contributions.
Serfdom was abolished centuries ago, academic publishing deserves a similar fate.
PS: For some reason authors are reluctant to post the web address for Sci-Hub: https://sci-hub.cc/.