Sunday, June 13, 2010

UK Peer review alone subsidises commercial science journals £210 million a year

The Open University's Martin Weller looks at the Peer Review Survey 2009's numbers on free participation by UK academics in the peer review process for commercial science journals and concludes that 10.4m hours spent on this amounts to a £209,976,000 subsidy from publicly funded universities to private, for-profit journals, who then charge small fortunes to the same institutions for access to the journals.

IMO: John Baez points out  "University of California is considering a system-wide boycott of the Nature Publishing Group — for example, cancelling subscriptions to all their journals". That is since Nature recently raised the cost of its 67 journals to more than anyone can reasonably pay. £210 million looks enough to be worth the UK Government to save, e.g. by persuading Unis against peer review of commercial journals. But it would be better done by Union or University action. I believe University of California may be already considering some such action.

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