For almost two decades, a battle has been raging over access to scholarly research. On the one side have been scholars, librarians, funders and others arguing that in an age of near-costless global communication, research findings and the data that underlie them should be shared freely and openly. On the other side have been publishers, led by Elsevier, a (very large) unit of under-the-radar London-based media giant RELX Plc, fighting to maintain the remarkable profit margins that paywalled scholarly journals can provide.
That’s the simple version, at least — things have always been a little more complicated than that. But it was still jarring to observe this week in Berlin how much the battle lines have shifted.
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