Why is academia so against academic endevours?

September 4, 2014 at 10:51 am (Rant, Thinking) (, , , , , , , , , )

I feel like academia is a broken system. There are a number of things wrong with the entire thing, but what has been really bugging me is how publications work. You submit your research to a publisher and if they accept your work, you pay them money for publishing and likely you pay to present at a conference. Then if anyone else in the world wants to check out your research, they get to pay the publisher to access it. We’re not talking a few dollars to cover the bandwidth and storage costs, some of these papers are over $30!

Universities will typically buy subscriptions to vendors so that students/staff can access whatever they need to. My beef is that you have to be a current, paying student to gain access. You can’t be an alumni, you can’t pay the university for temporary access, and you can’t be a perspective student.

In my case, I want to read up on research to stay relevant in my field and to potentially work with other professionals again on new research. I’m essentially out of luck here. I can’t pitch new research to professors to become faculty without access to the research, and I can’t magically become faculty with empty hands (and I wouldn’t want to; I’d prefer to have something to offer). I’m honestly not sure who these rules are designed to protect. I was told by the library administration that the vendors had rules, but as the university is giving them plenty of money already, why would they care? If they’re trying to product the authors’ work, the research is still for sale, so large companies can afford whatever they need anyway.

It all just sucks. I had some good research leads and now I’m dead in the water.

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