The lords of (mercantilistic) science

One would think that in the world of science prevail altruistic positions primarily concerned with common good ……. and it is likely that this statement is the reality that describes the majority of scholars and scientists who populate our universities and scientific organizations. What most ignore is the fact that the majority of scientific knowledge is commodified at the expense of the budgets of universities, libraries and research centers for the benefit of a few multinational publishers who take advantage of knowledge generated mainly from public resources. Recently, George Monbiot in an article in The Guardian carries our a bright analysis of this situation. As he points out, the monopolistic practices of this sector “make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist”.

This editorial oligopoly is turning science into a “one more” market activity, hindering access to most institutions in developing countries due to prohibitive fares. Also, the apparently neutral criteria by which evaluation procedures grant access (or not) to publish research results in “top” journals, depend on value judgments of individuals that can serve particular interests or depend on multiple factors beyond strict scientific criteria.

More information in: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/29/academic-publishers-murdoch-socialist

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