Currently doing the rounds on twitter is this on the massive profits made by academic publishers:
If you are in Australia or New Zealand and want to know how much is spent just on purchasing subscriptions to academic journals then there is a very handy tool on the Council of Australian University Librarians website.
In 2013 New Zealand’s universities spent $51,135,180 on journal subscriptions.
That’s just our universities, so doesn’t include our CRI’s or independent research institutes. $51,135,180 to access work funded by the tax payer published in pay-walled journals that rely on unpaid labour by university academics for peer review and editorial duties.
To put that figure in perspective, the only funder of investigator-led blue-skies research in New Zealand, the Marsden Fund, awarded $59,000,000 in funding in 2013 – enough to fund 109 projects for 3 years.
In other words, we spend almost as much on buying access to research as we spend on blue-skies research.
I vote we scrap the subscriptions and use the money to double the Marsden Fund, giving each project an allocation to publish their results open access. Makes sense to me!
Hat/tip to Alex Holcombe (@ceptional) and Fabiana Kubke (@Kubke).