7 ways journalists can access academic research for free

“Here at Journalist’s Resource, we’re big fans of research — especially the peer-reviewed kind. We promote academic research as one of journalism’s most important tools for covering public policy and fact-checking claims.

We also know it can be tough sometimes for reporters to find the research they need. Many academic journals keep the published work of scholars and research organizations behind paywalls. Newsrooms can’t always afford to subscribe, leaving journalists to find other ways to access that knowledge.

Resourceful journalists do find other ways. Here are seven of them….”

The Race to the Bottom – Short-term Bargains versus Long-term Vitality – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It’s tempting to blame faceless corporate overlords for this, but I believe consumers are the actual culprits (and, in a sort of justice, victims). By being cheapskates, they have driven the bargains, supported the leaders, and tolerated the deals that are now coming back to haunt them….

In the midst of this short-term thinking is a set of irreconcilable ideas, namely the idea that publishers have to charge less and do more — manage more business models, deal with endless mandates and the related compliance complexity, review and reject more papers, invent and validate new impact measures, create and promulgate more and better technology, and support every little notion about research outputs academia can dream up, from text- and data-mining to open data….”

National Freedom of Information Coalition

“The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. Our mission is to make sure state and local governments and public institutions have laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.

NFOIC exercises advocacy, education and resolve. We are keenly aware of the challenges to access information in an increasingly digital world.

We are a nonpartisan alliance of state & regional affiliates promoting collaboration, education & advocacy for open government, transparency & freedom of information. Our members include citizen-driven nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys….”

National Freedom of Information Coalition

“The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. Our mission is to make sure state and local governments and public institutions have laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.

NFOIC exercises advocacy, education and resolve. We are keenly aware of the challenges to access information in an increasingly digital world.

We are a nonpartisan alliance of state & regional affiliates promoting collaboration, education & advocacy for open government, transparency & freedom of information. Our members include citizen-driven nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys….”

Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books – The Washington Post

“Federal prison officials abruptly reversed a controversial policy Thursday that had made it harder and more expensive for thousands of inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs.

The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.

Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.

The reversal came after two days’ of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.

Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to “ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials.” …”

Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books – The Washington Post

“Federal prison officials abruptly reversed a controversial policy Thursday that had made it harder and more expensive for thousands of inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs.

The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.

Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.

The reversal came after two days’ of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.

Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to “ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials.” …”

The long view: scholars assess the state of history | THE Features

“Our ability as historians to rebut simplistic misconceptions depends on the availability of both information and personnel. Open-access scholarship is vital to combat “fake news”, not merely in the formal sense of articles being freely available online but also in the form of scholars disseminating their learning outside journals….”

How the Guardian found 800,000 paying readers | The Drum

“The paper has also slightly increased – to 200,000 – its subscriber base for its print and digital products. And in a development which has even surprised senior Guardian executives, a further 300,000 individuals have made single donations to the paper, which has been posting appeals at the end of articles, urging readers to financially support its commitment to open access journalism….”

Brazilians launch “Libre”, a new microfinancing technology for journalism | Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

“Brazil has seen dozens of independent journalism initiatives emerge in recent years, many of them launched with the proposal of innovating in terms of content and the ways it’s presented. One challenge facing most of these initiatives concerns financial sustainability: how to generate the income needed to improve journalistic quality, keeping content accessible to as many people as possible?

Libre, a new microfinancing technology for digital journalism, aims to help Brazilian outlets solve this impasse. The tool uses a mechanism similar to likes and shares in social networks, but proposes the transformation of these manifestations of appreciation for content into financial support for outlets and journalists….”