“…In many cases, it is the readers themselves who, through their taxes, pay the university authors whose studies they are then unable to access. It is also likely that many professors themselves cannot even afford a subscription to the journal in which their work is published. Subscription rates of up to €15,000 ($20,633) per year are hardly a rarity. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, for example, comes with a price tag of more than €20,000 annually. Authors who publish their works in such a journal usually don’t see a single cent for their labors. Publishing companies such as Reed Elsevier, by contrast, regularly achieve pre-tax profit margins of over 25 percent. “Publishers of scientific journals make so much money because they collect their product for free from taxpayers and then sell it back at inflated prices,” says Günter M. Ziegler, a distinguished mathematician at Berlin’s Free University. Until two years ago, Ziegler was the co-publisher of two mathematics journals at Reed Elsevier. Then he joined a boycott that has since attracted the support of 14,000 others. He is now working for an academic journal that is available to everyone on the Internet according to open access principles. Elsevier says that the conflict has more to do with a misunderstanding than a conflict of interests.”
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