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Communications of the ACM


Push Versus Pull

Push Versus Pull, illustrative photo

Credit: Flickr

The academic publishing industry provides an invaluable service to the academic research community. This publication infrastructure allows for the sharing of knowledge, facilitates new discoveries, and supports a vibrant exchange of ideas. Universities require and support the publication infrastructure and the associated peer-review vetting process through access subscription fees. A by-product of such scholarly activities and dissemination is that research institutions use peer-reviewed publications to make hiring, retention, promotion, and tenure decisions. Open access pushes publication costs onto authors (and their funding agencies), which devalues access subscription fees paid by institutions. The weak link for research vetting and dissemination is the business model to sustain the academic publication ecosystem.

Nearly everyone can agree that the free exchange of research ideas via publications is desirable and beneficial. In a financially strained environment for public and private academic institutions in the U.S., as well as numerous international institutions, particularly in the developing world, there is a growing interest to make such access to publications available at little or no cost.


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