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  • Angelica Tyler

Pizza and Paywall

Photo Credit: Eileen Rosewater

Oct. 28, Phillips Library hosted a movie discussion for students, staff and other faculty for 2021’s Open Access week. The film shown, “Paywall: The Business Scholarship” is based on open access research of science and the questioning behind the $25.5 billion a year that goes to profit academic publishers. It examines the 35-40 percent profit margin that is associated with Elsevier, on the top academic publishers. Elsevier examines how that profit margin is better than most of the top tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google.

In order for publications to make money, a certain extent of costs have to be met. It hires writers to write the articles, hires editors to commission, form and check the content and it pays for the finished product to be sent to subscribers and retailers. This all comes out to be costly, while is also making magazines successful, often to produce about 12-15 percent of profit margins.

After the movie, a brief discussion was hosted by Francis Lukban, Evening Services Manager, and Mike Belmont, Information Technology Librarian. The discussion began with Lukban giving recognition of how much the movie diagnoses the problem of the numerous issues that libraries and many researchers deal with on a daily basis. This ties with publishers, publications that are contributed to scholarships, which is also tied into the life of what it is to be a professor in universities. Other comments were made by Belmont tied to the film and his experience working at the Mount St. Mary’s Phillips Library.

“If I'm doing reference interviews with students, we're introducing them to peer-reviewed articles, and how to find open access articles,” stated Belmont. He went on to discuss library guides for students that have introduced them to the problems such as budgets with certain articles, websites in which they are paying for peer-reviewed articles and that this is a contribution to why students run into paywall problems.

The importance behind showcasing this film is to bring awareness, while getting students engaged in this topic on campus. “It brings a means of education for students to understand the process that the library goes through to curate resources for students,” stated Lukban.

Not only will it bring awareness, it will show what it means to be a librarian while students and faculty can be aware of how many issues librarians go through to get specific research. After showcasing this film, Lukban and Belmont are in the works of developing Phillips Library Open Access resources for students which will allow students to learn how to use Open Access resources.


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