Why Isn’t Academic Research Free to Everyone?

Noah Berlatsky:

A blurb below the search bar on Google Scholar tells you to “stand on the shoulders of giants.” The giants in question here are academic writers, and Google Scholar does provide searchable access to essays on a dizzying array of topics, from governance in post-genocide Rwanda to the ethics of using polygraph tests on juveniles.

Except for one problem: Most of these articles are paywalled. You need to have university access to read them—or else pay what’s often a substantial fee. Martin Paul Eve, a lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of English & Journalism in the United Kingdom, wants to change that.

In his book Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future, he explains why, and how, research in the humanities should be publicly available for free. Eve spoke to me about his recent book, copyright laws, and why plagiarism isn’t a major concern.