27 June 2010

Closed Access Summary, 21 to 27 June 2010

"Closed Access" is the nearly universal practice among publishers of scientific and scholarly journals of charging prohibitively high prices for electronic access to single copies of the articles they publish: the dreaded "paywall." For more on the concept of "Closed Access," in the context of my personal experience as a scholar without a current institutional affiliation, see my post from 6 June 2010.

I have referred to just 7 articles behind paywalls in my blog posts over the past week, and only one of these has a price over $15.00:

2010.06.22 "An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS $10.00

"The Prickly Side of Oxytocin," Science AAAS $15.00

"The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict," Science AAAS $15.00

"Different amygdala subregions mediate valence-related and attentional effects of oxytocins in humans," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS $10.00
2010.06.24 "A bag of notes approach to writer identification in old handwritten musical scores," Proceedings of the 8th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems ACM $15.00

"The minor third communicates sadness in speech, mirroring its use in music," Emotion APA PsycNET $11.95
2010.06.27 "An fMRI study of self-reflection about body image: Sex differences," Personality and Individual Differences ScienceDirect $31.50


Total: $108.45


Cumulative Total: $917.38

The mean price for articles this week is $15.00 $15.49.  This is considerably lower than the mean of all articles up through 20 June 2010, which was $26.96.  However, it needs to be kept in mind that even $10.00, which is the minimum price for a single "behind a paywall" pdf encountered since I began accumulating statistics, is still extraordinarily high for what you get:  limited time access to an electronic copy of article of just a few pages, reporting research that very likely was supported in whole or in part by public money, for which neither the authors nor the reviewers received compensation. (I will report in more detail on the issue of research funding in this regard in a later post.)

The cumulative cost of the 37 "Closed Access" articles referred to in this blog since it began is $917.38.

Using R's "summary()" function on this data, we get:

   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.
  10.00   15.00   29.95   24.79   31.50   83.68 


I am happy to report that there have been a number of fine research articles this week that were freely available.
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