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Access to Scientific Knowledge: A Historical Perspective

  • Pali U. K. De SilvaEmail author
  • Candace K. Vance
Chapter
  • 892 Downloads
Part of the Fascinating Life Sciences book series (FLS)

Abstract

The scientific communication system familiar to us today has evolved over several centuries. Journal articles became the conventional means for publishing ideas, theories, and research findings and journals became the formal “dissemination carriers.” Although learned societies played a dominant role in journal publishing at the beginning, toward the end of the twentieth century, both societies and commercial publishers controlled journal publishing, but commercial publishers became dominant players in the twenty-first century. While the subscription-based journal access model persisted overtime, issues related to restrictions imposed upon accessing scientific knowledge which is essential to the progress of science and the sustainability of this system gained attention toward the end of the twentieth century and continued to the twenty-first century. Continuously increasing scientific journal subscription rates , publishers offering package deals reducing journal selection options, and publisher merges increasing oligopolistic control of journal publishing created the “serial crisis” in which university libraries struggle to provide access of scientific journals to their academic communities. These developments, how the university communities and academic libraries reacted to the situation, and how advances in the computer and communication technologies started reshaping the entire scholarly communication landscape, opening up new horizons in the quest for seeking alternative journal publishing models are discussed.

Keywords

Electronic journals Electronic publishing Scientific scholarly communication Scientific societies Commercial journal publishers Scholarly journals Subscription-based journal access model 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Murray State UniversityMurrayUSA

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