Pay-walled Research Papers Do Not Constitute Published Work

I just had another discussion with a reviewer (by way of an editor) who insisted that I cite (presumably their) work buried behind an Elsevier paywall. How obnoxious can you be?

It is 2019 and there are still editors and reviewers who consider articles, which are not freely accessible on the web, published research? That’s so wrong. Such work has been buried behind a paywall. It yet needs to be published.

Let me ask this rhetorical question: How many people died, who could have been saved, because medical doctors around the world could not get to the relevant medical information because it was hidden behind a paywall of Elsevier or the likes? If your answer is that they should just pay, you don’t know how literature search works.

When I search for literature, out of principled reasons and out of solidarity with those who cannot afford it, I switch off my institution’s access to commercial publishers. This way, I ensure that everyone can access all relevant information about my work and independently verify it. I recommend everyone do it like that.

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