5 out of 410 days: Digital Glass Ceiling

Yesterday it was obscure print publications with poor library deposition, today it is completely find-able entries in research databases behind the pay wall.  One well known publisher in our field has taken to publishing digitally new editions of old reference works that used to be printed in book form.  This is a huge advantage for searching and cross-referencing and updating.  It’s a huge disadvantage if your institution doesn’t subscribe and in good conscience I can’t ask my library to pay $9,540.00 for the database.  That’s more than the operating budget of my department his past year.  ILL can easily secure me a copy of just about any page in any book in any library in the country, but that pay wall creates a huge research gap between poorly funded state institutions and large privates.  It puts the individual researcher in the position of having to spend hours travelling and getting permission slips to access the resources at another institution OR begging for a little favor from a scholar with a better job to make a copy and send it along OR pay for a day pass from the publisher out of one’s own pocket. The edits continue.

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