The Cost of Knowledge

I try to learn something new every day. One way I do that is by subscribing to several alerts from Google Scholar. Today, I was quite happy when I checked my alerts as there were four quite interesting articles in them:

If you have read some of my previous blog posts you will notice that I have an interest in these topics — release planning, regression test selection, NFRs in agile and the whole blog is about agile methodology.

But it turns out that I am out of luck. All of these titles are published by Springer which means that I would have to pay €25 for each of them without even knowing for sure that they are really interesting. While I can understand that Springer and other publishers need a lot of money to keep their operation running, I cannot understand why researchers prioritize these publications for their work. Today, a researcher must always strive to obtain as many references as possible and maximize their h-index.

The first step towards getting referenced by others is that these others read your work but why should buy your article if they have to pay €25 without even knowing how good it is? Open publication models have been proposed and also implemented by certain online journals. The disadvantage is that someone, the authors, have to pay which will also lead to some kind of bias.

My personal preference is for the kind of “clopen” model used by the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society. As a member in these societies I can subscribe to their entire digital library for a small, fixed annual fee. But not only is their content cheaper and therefore more readily accessible. Studies also shows that it has higher quality or at least is more influential with higher impact factor.

So, why would people like to publish themselves in a less influential and less accessible forum?

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