Open Access Explained, PhD Comics Style

As biological creatures, we are very adaptable. If we notice that some background condition remains relatively stable, we tend to ignore it after a while. On the one hand, this makes perfect sense, since we can't afford to devote all of our energy and attention resources to things that are unlikely to affect us in sudden ways. On the other hand, this makes us very susceptible to the status quo bias (failing to recognize better alternatives; failing to even acknowledge that there could be potentially better methods; perpetuating the current system as the solution to a problem that we often don't realize is the result of the very same system we use to 'fix' it; and even actively working against new possibilities, even while being fully cognizant of the problems and negative consequences associated with the systems currently implemented).

This problem is ubiquitous, and there are entire industries built upon the simple and great idea that for any given situation, there are probably better solutions than those that are currently being implemented. Unfortunately, some of these same industries, once they acquire a certain level of success and financial power, tend to re-affirm their own system instead of the original idea of constantly improving things. And if they have enough power and influence, they can actually become an impediment to improved efficiency. Professional academic journals, for all the wonderful work they do, have also fallen into this self-reinforcing pattern where their financial success has replaced the original idea for which they were created, and maybe it's time we start a dialogue to figure out how to make everyone better off...




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