Last week, the Biden administration announced that Americans will get access to academic research that their federal tax dollars pay for. It’s about time.
Scholarly journals have run a racket for decades. Researchers who want their work published in a prestigious journal hand it over to publishers who charge exorbitant fees to libraries and anyone else who wants access to cutting-edge work.
Publishers got away with it because their print journals were the only game in town. Then the internet began to democratize information and eliminate paper publishing costs. It became a lot harder to justify keeping content, especially publicly funded content, behind steep paywalls.
The federal government spends more than $100 billion on science and engineering research annually. The…