Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which focuses on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.

The documentary features interviews with a wide range of academics, publishers and open access advocates from across the world, including RLUK’s Executive Director, David Prosser.

The documentary was produced and directed by Jason Schmitt, professor at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY who said: ‘This documentary is not necessarily for scholars, it’s not for academics,” he said. “It’s for society. Why should society care about open access? Most of society do not realize that they fund a majority of research that is publicly funded, and then that research is eventually locked up behind a pay wall, and then have to pay $39.95 to read the results. […] I want to create a fair playing field, and I think there are very few places on Planet Earth that deserve a more fair playing field than access to scholarship and research that’s been done.

RLUK will be hosting a screening of the documentary at the British Library on 30 January 2019. Details on this event will be made available in due course.


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