"Scientific journals still disseminate our work, but in the Internet-connected world of the 21st century, this is no longer their critical function. Journals remain relevant almost entirely because they provide a playing field for scientific and professional competition: to claim credit for a discovery, we publish it in a peer-reviewed journal; to get a job in academia or money to run a lab, we present these published papers to universities and funding agencies. Publishing is so embedded in the practice of science that whoever controls the journals controls access to the entire profession."My only criticisms are a lack of cynicism about the perks publishers distribute:
- They pay no attention to the role of librarians, who after all actually "negotiate" with the publishers and sign the checks.
- They write:
we work for them for free in producing the work, reviewing it, and serving on their editorial boardsWe have spoken with someone who used to manage top journals for a major publisher. His internal margins were north of 90%, and the single biggest expense was the care and feeding of the editorial board.
Despite these quibbles, you should definitely go read the whole paper.