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Challenges to scholarly journal paywalls take several directions

The prohibitive cost of e-journal subscriptions and the wealth of critical research articles available only for fee continues to reverberate in different directions as individuals and groups work to bypass paywalls. Aaron Swartz spearheaded these efforts in 2013 when he downloaded millions of articles through MIT’s JSTOR account.  More recently, efforts to broaden access to journal articles have taken two markedly less extensive but nevertheless noteworthy paths – the rise of open access journals in legal and humanities and sciences subject matter, and via the Twitter hashtag #icanhazpdf. The latter is an access method founded by a scientist that openly circumvents paywalls by providing researchers with the ability to request fee-based copyrighted articles and receive them free from other researchers who have access. New paths will continue to open up access, and exiting ones – including abstracts and forthcoming versions of articles available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and legal and technology related articles on (19 years online – always free) with flourish as the demand for high quality free access to scholarly work has not diminished. I look forward to reading about and sharing future innovations that support knowledge sharing and dissemination.

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