Professors as Slave Labor for Journals?

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Academic journals are making a lot of money for downloads of articles, while faculty who write the articles get none of the money.  I just signed away all my rights to an article in exchange for publication. The article I wrote is likely to earn the publisher a lot of money because it is on a widely discussed topic for the social sciences.

 Publications are the centerpieces of academic careers. Academics not only must publish but we want to share our ideas through publication.

 We are working for free.  Slavery exists when those in power make income off the persons who produce the goods that those in power sell AND the workers get no money for their labor. Faculty deserve to share in the income that our work generates for publishers of journals. This is an idea whose time has come.

 At the minimum, we should not have to sign away our rights to post articles where we want to post them. We can make money for ourselves from our own work. Sites such as generate fees for those who post material. We can charge reasonable fees and not the $30 or more that publishers charge.  We can even allow for free downloads.

 I hope other faculty see the injustice in this situation and negotiate with publishers about this practice. Publishers are profiting enormously from the work academics are required to do in order to be academics.

 If academics are looking for additional sources of income, we only have to insist that journal publishers pay us royalties.

Imagine the outrage if we told our students that in order to get a grade for a course, they must sign away their rights to the papers they wrote and the professors will make all the profit from their papers.

Academics must publish in order to be academics.  What is the difference between the practice of publishers and the absurd situation of blackmailing students into handing over their rights to faculty?

 Jane F. Gilgun

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA


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