Academic Spring

It began with a frustrated blogpost by a distinguished mathematician. Tim Gowers and his colleagues had been grumbling among themselves for several years about the rising costs of academic journals. They, like many other academics, were upset that the work produced by their peers, and funded largely by taxpayers, sat behind the paywalls of private publishing houses that charged UK universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year for the privilege of access. There had been talk last year that a major scientific body might come out in public to highlight the problem and rally scientists to speak out against the publishing companies, but nothing was happening fast.

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