Randy Schekman: Don’t put science ‘behind a paywall’

Randy Schekman

Randy Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, is a winner of 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (UC Berkeley photo by Elena Zhukova)

“Scientific research shouldn’t sit behind a paywall,” writes UC Berkeley professor Randy Schekman in a new op-ed in Scientific American

Discovery and research shouldn’t be inaccessible to those that need it—doctors, university scientists, for example — especially when the taxpayers fund the research, which is often the case for major projects, said Schekman, a professor of cell and developmental biology who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2013.

Open access to research have other benefits too, Schekman notes: 

“Long before I began experimenting with baker’s yeast, which led to the discovery of how cells transport and secrete proteins, I was just a kid who loved science,” he wrote. “Growing up, I would pore over issues of Science in my high school library, exploring the latest ideas. Today’s students don’t have access to this same information for one reason: the subscription model of most for-profit journal publishers.”

Schekman called on academic publishers, especially giant Elsevier, which the University of California broke ties with earlier this year, to do away with their excessive profit margins. 

“It’s about time that people have access to the science that they paid for,” he wrote.

Read Schekman's complete op-ed in Scientific American