Open Access Week: Paywall the Movie

A documentary released earlier this year and screened as a part of UBC’s Open Access Week, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship focuses on the need for open access to science and research. Produced and directed by Jason Schmitt, a professor at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, this movie questions the $25.2 billion a year paid to academic publishers and the huge margin of profit gained by those businesses.

Although profitable to publishers, paywalls (restricted access to a site unless the user has paid for a description) reduce the access to scholarship. Smaller universities are often unable to afford access to the latest research and people unaffiliated with a university are unable to access it at all. Open Access is the movement responding to this by working to provide an alternative to the business of academic research. The movie describes the ins and outs of research publishing, discusses proprietary and open access, the impact of dominant publishers such as Elsevier, and how a lack of accessibility affects research.

In order to explore multiple aspects of the issue, the movie presents the information through interviews a wide range of people, including professors, CEOs, librarians, PHD students, and those involved in the publishing industry. .

This movie is a great way to get an introduction to scholarly publishing and Open Access. As in keeping with the subject the movie is free to access and download. To watch the movie either click on the video above orĀ  follow the link here.