It’s been a while, but we’re back with another in our occasional series of Friday Big Deal Longreads. In this semi-regular feature, we highlight a longer-form essay, article, or report relating to the deeply dysfunctional system that currently governs the way scholarship is reviewed, published, rewarded, and (crucially) monetized by extractive commercial entities.

This week’s entry is a proposal that is simultaneously radical and (IMO) practical: that research funders should overthrow the journal publishing system (radical!) by requiring funded researchers to use open infrastructure to share their scholarship (practical!). You can read the full article at the link below. Here’s an excerpt:

A major factor underlying several of scholarship’s most pressing problems is its antiquated journal system with its trifecta of reproducibility, affordability and functionality crises. Any solution needs to not only solve the current problems but also be capable of preventing a takeover by corporations. Technically, there is broad agreement on the goal for a modern scholarly digital infrastructure: it needs to replace traditional journals with a decentralized, resilient, evolvable network that is interconnected by open standards under the governance of the scholarly community. It needs to replace the monopolies of current journals with a genuine, functioning and well-regulated market. In this new market, substitutable service providers compete and innovate according to the conditions of the scholarly community, avoiding further vendor lock-in. Redirection of funding from the legacy publishers to the new framework may be realized by a tried-and-tested incentive system: Funding agencies have ensured minimum standards at funded institutions by requiring specific infrastructures.

Björn Brembs, Philippe Huneman, Felix Schönbrodt, Gustav Nilsonne, Toma Susi, Renke Siems, Pandelis Perakakis, Varvara Trachana, Lai Ma, & Sara Rodriguez-Cuadrado. (2021). Replacing academic journals.