- Journals get their content for free (papers submitted by authors).
- Journals get their quality control for free (reviewers volunteering their time).
- Journals get their editors for free (more volunteers).
- Journals charge thousands of dollars per year for subscriptions.
Monbiot argues that this has the effect of shutting cutting-edge science behind extremely high paywalls, which has the effect of making science inaccessible to most of the population. When this happens, is it any surprise that hokum like the anti-vaccination movement takes hold in the population? Or that creationist baloney circulates so widely?
I think it's time for scientists, and leading scientists at that, to start submitting more to open-access journals. More importantly, it's time for managers and funding bodies to ditch the overly simplistic measures of performance that are derived from impact factors. Otherwise, things are not going to end well.