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Academic Knowledge For All

photo of stacks of library books
Creative Commons

The world of academic publishing is all about credibility, and most scholars want to be published in the nation’s most reputable academic journals. But accessing those journals can be very expensive. While large universities can often afford to foot the bill, researchers at smaller colleges, or those in developing countries, may find themselves unable to afford access to the latest scientific research.

One possible solution is open-access publishing. This digital-centric approach flips the business model so that scholars pay a fee when they submit an article. In turn, the article is freely available to anyone. But the move to open-access is complicated, and the closed business model has helped some academic publishers achieve higher profit margins than Walmart, Apple or Google.

Host Frank Stasio talks with James Boyle, law professor and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University, about how free access to scholarship could change the way knowledge is built and shared. He also talks to Jason Schmitt, documentary filmmaker and producer of the forthcoming documentary “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship,” about the biggest players in academic publishing and their role in the move toward open-access scholarship. Schmitt is an associate professor of communication and media at Clarkson University.


Robert is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. He grew up in White Lake, a rural resort community in southeastern NC. The tales he heard about White Lake as a child would become the topic of his UNC-TV historical documentary, White Lake: Remembering the Nation's Safest Beach. In May 2017, he received a bachelor's degree in interactive multimedia from the Media and Journalism School at UNC-Chapel Hill with a minor in religious studies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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