Still causing disruption: “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship” one year later

“Paywall: The Business of Scholarship,” a documentary about the hidden costs of academic publishing and the need for open access to research and science, is still disrupting academic publishing protocol—a year after its release. Since its global premiere on Sept. 5, 2018, the documentary by Clarkson University professor, Jason Schmitt, has had 200,000 online streams on Vimeo, YouTube, Amazon and Internet Archive and screenings at over 360 public institutions and organizations, including United Nations, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab.

Following the film’s premiere, producer and director Jason Schmitt traveled as an invited speaker in support of open access to research at venues as diverse as Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the University of Iceland, Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, The British Library in London, England, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, the Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE) in Indonesia, University of British Columbia and nearly every ivy league institution in the US. 

“The Open Access movement has come a long way in one year,” says Schmitt. “When I started my project, nearly all U.S. universities were locked into ridiculous contracts with the largest for-profit publishers. Now, only one calendar year later, we see systematic academic change beginning with the University of California system—one of the largest public universities in the U.S.—terminating their contracts with academic publisher Elsevier and requiring open access to research.” 

“This move is already having trickle-down effects on smaller universities and colleges around the country and world,” he continues. “It is an exciting time for opening access for science, research and progress.” 

This September, Schmitt will provide multiple keynote speeches at SUNY Oneonta, Illinois State University and in Taiwan at National Cheng Kung University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Central Library and Pan-Sci the Science Citizen Network in Taipei City.

About “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship”

Schmitt’s documentary dives into the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Schmitt and his film crew traveled over 45,000 miles and interviewed over 70 key leaders in academic scholarship, including professors and librarians at top-tier universities and leaders at Wikipedia, Creative Commons, the Smithsonian, the Royal Society, Open Society Foundations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Staying true to the open access model: this film is free to stream and download and maintains the most open CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons designation to ensure anyone regardless of their social, financial or political background will have access to view this film.

About Jason Schmitt, Producer and Director  

Jason Schmitt serves as Chair of the Communication, Media & Design Department at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. He concentrates his research on online education impacting a global audience, open access relating to academic publications, and media industry future trends. He contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing, EdSurge and Slate and is a regular on news outlets and radio for expert opinions revolving around societal implications associated with new media trends.  

Prior to this project, Schmitt was the lead interviewer/field producer for the documentary, “Louder Than Love,” a film on the historic rock venue The Grande Ballroom and its influence on rock and roll music. The film was awarded an Emmy in 2016 and has been to more than 35 festivals from Detroit to L.A and London to Australia.

You Might Also Like