Real-World Economics Review Blog

from Edward Fullbrook

In case you have not been watching this Spring’s coming, since the spectacular Harvard development of two weeks ago, another large tree, the UK government, has bloomed.  Its Minister of State for Universities and Science announced last week that beginning in the near future all UK publicly funded academic research will be available on the Web free of charge to anyone anywhere in the world.  This is not a politician’s pipe dream; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has already been hired to set it up. 

In effect, the right-of-centre government minister said enough is enough, that this is a business model too odious to be tolerated.  No longer will The Big Five (Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Sage and Francis and Taylor) be allowed to stop society from freely accessing research funded by the UK taxpayer. 

What, when combined with Harvard’s, are the implications of this new initiative? …

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One Response to

  1. Sérgio Alves Jr. says:

    It is interesting to see that first-class Academia (where free flow of information should be a touchstone) also demands high political pressure to guarantee open access to inside knowledge.

    Brazil has raised the same concerns several times within the International Telecommunication Union (UN’s specialized agency on telecom/ICTs,, where much of the material published is sold to the Members States and (private) Sector Members who have produced it in the first place.

    In sum, ITU Membership bears the costs of joining a UN Agency (annual financial contribution, representatives’ per diems and travel costs), giving birth to the content (knowledge, expertise, manpower), and, at the end of the day, one still has to pay for the outcomes of endless-not-so-fruitful Geneva’s meetings, conferences and surveys. Obvious barriers for developing and least developed countries.


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