Open access — the movie

(4 September 2018) Richard Poynder views a documentary on the tug of war over paywalls in scholarly publishing.

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship Director: Jason Schmitt Open Society Foundations (2018)

Billed as a documentary, Paywall would be more accurately described as an advocacy film. Its intention seems to be to persuade viewers that the paywalls that restrict access to journal content online are an unnecessary hangover from the print era, and now serve only to perpetuate the excessive profits that legacy publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature make from the public purse.

Paywall features more than 70 interviews. People represented include: Richard Wilder, associate general counsel at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Wikipedia Library head Jake Orlowitz; and Alexandra Elbakyan, founder of Sci-Hub (a website that offers free access to more than 70 million illegally downloaded academic papers). Rachel Burley, publishing director for BioMed Central and SpringerOpen, speaks for Springer Nature.

Nature.com has the full article by Richard Poynder here.