“Scholars, please make your research available for free,” asks Harvard University.

Being an international teacher with limited resources, I appreciate the research I can find online for free.  I LOVE Wikipedia!  I love its democratic approach to information.  Admittedly, I would like to access some serious scholarship online and I sometimes am fortunate enough to get a colleague from a school or university in the States to send me some up-to-date articles.

Well, I guess I am not alone.  Even Harvard University, an institution known for its deep pockets, is turning to its scholars and asking them to make their research available for free.   According to Harvard’s Faculth Advisory Council,  “Harvard’s annual cost for journals from these providers now approaches $3.75M.”

Harvard’s Council wrote a memorandum on April 17, 2012 stating, “We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive.” (http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k77982&tabgroupid=icb.tabgroup143448)

Harvard pleaded with its scholars to publish its research through open sources that can be found online without cost.  The memo asked Harvard’s scholars to trade ‘prestige’ for open access.

In the past, I wrote articles for academic journals and all I received in return was a few copies of my article.  I must admit, I did feel grateful for the modicum of academic prestige I attained by being published by Columbia University or Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  Are some of you scholars out there making a large income from writing articles for academic journals?

I would appreciate it if JSTOR would make its vast number of academic articles available to little schools and individuals scholars for an affordable price.  $10-$20 a month?

I believe that research, ideas and academic conversations should be available for an affordable cost to any academic, whether they be connected to Harvard or working independently.

Please, scholars, let us access information whether or not we can afford to visit your beautiful libraries.   Whether I am teaching and writing in Lutsk, Ukraine or Tallinn, Estonia, I am grateful to academics who are willing to share their ideas and new research.

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