The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

From Scientific American:

In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad’s touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens. When nothing happens, she pushes against her leg, confirming that her finger works just fine—or so a title card would have us believe.

The girl’s father, Jean-Louis Constanza, presents “A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work” as naturalistic observation—a Jane Goodall among the chimps moment—that reveals a generational transition. “Technology codes our minds,” he writes in the video’s description. “Magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives”—that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age.

Perhaps his daughter really did expect the paper magazines to respond the same way an iPad would. Or maybe she had no expectations at all—maybe she just wanted to touch the magazines. Babies touch everything. Young children who have never seen a tablet like the iPad or an e-reader like the Kindle will still reach out and run their fingers across the pages of a paper book; they will jab at an illustration they like; heck, they will even taste the corner of a book. Today’s so-called digital natives still interact with a mix of paper magazines and books, as well as tablets, smartphones and e-readers; using one kind of technology does not preclude them from understanding another.

Nevertheless, the video brings into focus an important question: How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads—to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?

Since at least the 1980s researchers in many different fields—including psychology, computer engineering, and library and information science—have investigated such questions in more than one hundred published studies. The matter is by no means settled. Before 1992 most studies concluded that people read slower, less accurately and less comprehensively on screens than on paper. Studies published since the early 1990s, however, have produced more inconsistent results: a slight majority has confirmed earlier conclusions, but almost as many have found few significant differences in reading speed or comprehension between paper and screens. And recent surveys suggest that although most people still prefer paper—especially when reading intensively—attitudes are changing as tablets and e-reading technology improve and reading digital books for facts and fun becomes more common. In the U.S., e-books currently make up between 15 and 20 percent of all trade book sales.

Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people’s attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.

“There is physicality in reading,” says developmental psychologist and cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University, “maybe even more than we want to think about as we lurch into digital reading—as we move forward perhaps with too little reflection. I would like to preserve the absolute best of older forms, but know when to use the new.”

Navigating textual landscapes

Understanding how reading on paper is different from reading on screens requires some explanation of how the brain interprets written language. We often think of reading as a cerebral activity concerned with the abstract—with thoughts and ideas, tone and themes, metaphors and motifs. As far as our brains are concerned, however, text is a tangible part of the physical world we inhabit. In fact, the brain essentially regards letters as physical objects because it does not really have another way of understanding them. As Wolf explains in her book Proust and the Squid, we are not born with brain circuits dedicated to reading. After all, we did not invent writing until relatively recently in our evolutionary history, around the fourth millennium B.C. So the human brain improvises a brand-new circuit for reading by weaving together various regions of neural tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language, motor coordination and vision.

Some of these repurposed brain regions are specialized for object recognition—they are networks of neurons that help us instantly distinguish an apple from an orange, for example, yet classify both as fruit. Just as we learn that certain features—roundness, a twiggy stem, smooth skin—characterize an apple, we learn to recognize each letter by its particular arrangement of lines, curves and hollow spaces. Some of the earliest forms of writing, such as Sumerian cuneiform, began as characters shaped like the objects they represented—a person’s head, an ear of barley, a fish. Some researchers see traces of these origins in modern alphabets: C as crescent moon, S as snake. Especially intricate characters—such as Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji—activate motor regions in the brain involved in forming those characters on paper: The brain literally goes through the motions of writing when reading, even if the hands are empty. Researchers recently discovered that the same thing happens in a milder way when some people read cursive.

Beyond treating individual letters as physical objects, the human brain may also perceive a text in its entirety as a kind of physical landscape. When we read, we construct a mental representation of the text in which meaning is anchored to structure. The exact nature of such representations remains unclear, but they are likely similar to the mental maps we create of terrain—such as mountains and trails—and of man-made physical spaces, such as apartments and offices. Both anecdotally and in published studies, people report that when trying to locate a particular piece of written information they often remember where in the text it appeared. We might recall that we passed the red farmhouse near the start of the trail before we started climbing uphill through the forest; in a similar way, we remember that we read about Mr. Darcy rebuffing Elizabeth Bennett on the bottom of the left-hand page in one of the earlier chapters.

In most cases, paper books have more obvious topography than onscreen text. An open paperback presents a reader with two clearly defined domains—the left and right pages—and a total of eight corners with which to orient oneself. A reader can focus on a single page of a paper book without losing sight of the whole text: one can see where the book begins and ends and where one page is in relation to those borders. One can even feel the thickness of the pages read in one hand and pages to be read in the other. Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there’s a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has traveled. All these features not only make text in a paper book easily navigable, they also make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text.

Link to the rest at Scientific American in 2013

PG notes the date of this extended article, nine years ago, and all of the studies he mentioned would have taken place even earlier than that, given the lead times publications like Scientific American had to deal with as a longer lead-time for its paper publication than many publications do today. Per Wikipedia, the magazine established a paywall for its website in 2019.

PG cannot restrain himself from noting that the magazine owned by Springer Nature, which in turn is a subsidiary of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

Holtzbrinck (Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck) is a privately-held company headquartered in Stuttgart. It also owns Big-Five publisher Macmillan and a great many other publications.

Along with another large German publishing conglomerate, Bertelsmann, Holtzbrinck has an embarrassing history of aiding in the publication and distribution of Nazi propaganda during the 1930’s and 1940’s and profited from Jewish slave labor at some of the printing companies that supplied it with books and other publications.

To be fair, none of the present generation of owners and managers are old enough to have participated in those actions, although, there are reports that, during the 1950’s and 60’s, more than one German publishing executive attempted to whitewash previous close relations with various Nazi figures. Various short descriptions of Holtzbrinck recite that it was originally founded as a book club in 1948 which may describe either the present corporate entity or a predecessor, but PG doesn’t know of any postwar book club startups whose sole shareholders were multi-billionaires in the 2000-2010 era.

The controlling owners, Stefan von Holtzbrinck, his brother Dieter and sister Monika Schoeller inherited Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and held it until 2006 when Dieter sold his share to Stefan and Monika who each owned 50% of the company. Monika died in 2019, leaving an estate estimated to be worth $2.2 billion.

Capricious Actions That Cross the Line

From Publishing Perspectives:

[A] digital annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) “would hardly be a meeting of publishers,” said AAP president and CEO Maria A. Pallante, “if we didn’t address the First Amendment.

“As we all know, across the country, thousands of books are being questioned with a scrutiny that’s newly chilling,” she said, “from novels to math books. This is not to say that parents and communities don’t have a say in public education, as the law is clear that they do. But that roll has constitutional limits. It does not extend to capricious actions that cross the line and amount to censorship. In fact, the line is important.”

Indeed it is. And the association shines most brightly when it operates with such outspoken clarity in public policy and political channels to protect and promote the place of the book industry and its freedom to publish.

“And so last month, in Missouri,” Pallante said, “we were proud to join with the booksellers, Authors Guild, and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to file a brief in support of the NAACP—a case involving the removal of books from school libraries, including award-winning books addressing race and sexuality, such as The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

“In our filing, we highlighted the constitutional rights of minors to receive intellectual information as well as the deep flaws in the school district’s assertion that the banned books were obscene and therefore removable.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

PG suggests that Ms. Pallante needs a bit more understanding about public education and the constitution.

“This is not to say that parents and communities don’t have a say in public education, as the law is clear that they do.”

To PG’s sensitive ears, this statement sounds amazingly condescending. Public education is, by and large, funded by state and local taxes. To the best of PG’s knowledge, public school boards are elected in local elections by “parents and communities.”

Generally speaking, the public schools where most students are educated are determined by what geographical school district where the students reside. PG is aware that at least some states allow students in one school district to attend schools in a different district, usually, one adjoining the district where they reside. PG is not familiar with the state of vouchers across the United States but believes vouchers aren’t available to the large majority of children in public schools.

PG was raised in rural, sometimes very rural areas where getting to public school involved a school bus ride that lasted 20-30 minutes or more in some cases. Attending a more distant school would have required his parents to transport him there because public transportation was not available in any form. The only practical choice for his education was the local public school so even if “school choice” had existed, it would not have been practically exercisable.

Many states provide “educational vouchers” that allow families to fund attendance at private schools. Typically, private schools that accept vouchers (PG doesn’t think all do) receive an amount per student that is roughly equivalent to the money a public school would receive from local and state funds for a student’s education for a year.

Ultimately, educators receiving state and local funds for their salaries select textbooks for children to read in class, spending state and local funds to purchase those books. School principals and district superintendents are also paid from those funds.

PG suggests that parents have a right to pressure public school officials if they believe their tax money is being used to provide access to books they reasonably believe will cause harm to their children. When a large group of parents supports such objections, public school officials should realize that their concerns should be carefully considered and, in virtually every circumstance, be reflected in the school’s libraries and textbooks.

The Association of American Publishers is located in Washington, DC. Virtually all major trade publishers are located in New York City. PG suggests that these two cities, their inhabitants, and their values, priorities, and interests are quite different from the typical American and, in particular, typical American families with children who attend public school.

As PG has written previously, publishers of all sorts are controlled and managed by a group of people who are quite homogenous in their values and experiences and are atypical of American families with children who attend public school. These people ultimately control the content of traditionally-published books, school books, and a wide range of other media. He suggests that their values are also quite different from the typical American and, in particular, typical American families with children who attend public school.

If you would like to read the American Association of Publishers’ brief filed with the Federal District Court, it should be embedded below.

The Power, and Freedom, to Publish and Curate

From Publishers Weekly:

I have seen the word curated used more and more on bookstores’ websites. As a verb, it indicates that something has been thoughtfully chosen and organized. Does that mean if bookstore buyers disagree with what is published in a book, they should not carry it? Is that not a violation of their customers’ right to choose which books they buy on their own? Shouldn’t the titles they carry on their shelves provide as many different points of views as possible, no matter what the subject?

Let’s consider the following. Has there ever been a time when any independent bookstore or chain did not select the books it wanted to carry? Are we as publishers required to publish every manuscript submitted to us? Are bookstores required to stock every book available? Furthermore, has there ever been a period when a commercial publisher didn’t curate the titles that it was going to publish? The answer is no. The freedom to select books that one either agrees with or not has always been the right of every bookstore and publishing entrepreneur.

At Square One, we publish a number of health books. These titles normally balance traditional medicine with complementary self-care approaches. We believe that people should take some responsibility for their own health. We know that not every bookstore and library is going to buy all of our health titles because of our approach, but what we publish is our choice, just as it is our buyers’ choice to order these titles or to pass on them.

The argument becomes louder and much more confrontational when the questions focus on titles dealing with politics, sexual orientation, religion, and race—but our philosophy remains the same. As publishers, we select the books we want to make available. Does this mean we are somehow violating the First Amendment by virtue of our business practices? Absolutely not.

The industry finally has a growing and more diverse group of publishers and bookstores willing to provide any controversial title to their own markets. We all have the right to select, or curate. Our ability to freely select the books we wish to publish, or as bookstores to carry, is not likely to change—or is it? Decades of efforts by publishers. booksellers, and others has expanded the protections provided by the First Amendment, but now it seems that the concept of book selection may be going in a different, yet all-too-familiar direction with state governments’ eagerness to ban books in schools.

For years, publishers have gone to court to overturn the censorship laws that had existed since the 19th century. Starting in the 1920s, our industry watched as James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness masterpiece Ulysses was deemed obscene by a court. In the mid-1950s, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was initially rejected by scores of American publishers because of concerns about its content, and other so-called obscene works like D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer were eventually published in the U.S. despite serious opposition. In other words, generations of publishers fought for and won our right to be treated like grown-ups and allowed to make decisions about our reading tastes for ourselves.

Today, state governments are once again banning books and even certain words in schools and libraries. These actions prevent readers from making their own choices. There are no alternative school libraries for students to visit. Instead, there is a list of titles assembled by special interests and politicians to be banned from schools. For those teachers and school librarians who do not follow these laws, there is a fine and possible loss of employment. This is the real threat to the First Amendment, not accusing private businesses of selecting one book over another.

If publishers and bookstores keep making the wrong choices in the titles they select, they lose money and possibly their business. That is their right—just as it is to be profitable when making the right choices. What these state governments are doing is taking away our rights under the convenient camouflage of “protecting our children.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG suggests that one person’s curation can be another person’s banning. Public schools are ultimately responsible to the public and the government officials the public elects.

Choosing books for school curricula always entails selecting a small number of books and excluding a larger number. When politics, left, right and/or center, enters the choosing, there is likely to be conflict.

Over his lifetime, PG has seen a substantial expansion of the number of questions and issues about which vocal minorities and majorities disagree with other minorities and majorities.

“Everything is political,” is not, in PG’s humble opinion, a recipe for comity and compromise. Sometimes a book is just a book, not a life or death choice between opposing social, political, religious, etc., values. Children have been ignoring things their teachers tell them or that they read in school books for decades, if not centuries.

Two years ago schools shut down around the world. These are the biggest impacts

From National Public Radio:

Two years ago this month, schools closed their doors in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide were out of school. It would soon be the biggest, longest interruption in schooling since formal education became the norm in wealthier countries in the late 19th century.

At the time, I spoke with several experts in the field of research known as “education in emergencies.” They gave their predictions for the long-term implications of school closures in the United States based on the research on previous school interruptions caused by war, refugee crises, natural disasters and previous epidemics.

Two years on, schools are open and masks are coming off in most places, restoring a feeling of normalcy.

So, how have these predictions played out? Let’s take a look.

Prediction: Student learning will suffer. Vulnerable and marginalized students will be most affected.

Verdict: TRUE

In the United States, compared with wealthy countries in Western Europe and East Asia, schools were typically closed longer. A majority of Black, Hispanic and Asian students stayed remote through early 2021. In the fall of 2020, enrollment dropped, driven by families who sat out pre-K and kindergarten.

All the data we have to date shows students falling behind where they would have been without the interruption. As predicted, these gaps are consistently bigger for low-income, Black and Latino children. This study from November found these gaps were bigger at schools that had less in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year.

Some of the latest research focuses on students learning to read. One recent study in Virginia found early reading skills at a 20-year low this past fall.

In New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, schools were closed for a few months, and student learning recovered to its previous trajectory after two full school years – and then improved from there. Post-COVID recovery could take even longer.

Prediction: A spike in the high school dropout rate and a fall in college enrollment.


For the class of 2020, districts relaxed graduation requirements, and students graduated in similar or even improved numbers compared with previous years. For 2021, it was a different story. Data is incomplete, but Chalkbeat reported recently that high school graduation rates were trending down in most states for which they had data. And district superintendents have told NPR they are missing older students who have traded schooling for paid work.

Federal data, meanwhile, show college enrollment is down more than 1 million students over the past two years. This is an international phenomenon that could reduce earnings around the world by a total of $17 trillion if not addressed, the UN predicts.

Link to the rest at National Public Radio

The COVID shutdowns were, among many other things, a huge sociology and psychology experiment for the world. Different nations responded in different ways, but most acted quickly and for most people, a lack of normalcy continued over an extended period of time.

PG suggests that the consequences/results of the COVID period will continue to be analyzed for quite a number of years into the future.

PG remembers reading about/talking about other similar shared shocks in somewhat recent history.

  1. Everyone in the United States who alive and cognizant of world affairs remembered where they were and what they were doing when they learned that the Japanese had attacked Peral Harbor.
  2. Everyone in the United States (and perhaps elsewhere) (alive and cognizant) remembers where they were when they learned that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
  3. Everyone in a much more media connected world remembers where they were when they heard that the World Trade Center in New York City was destroyed by hijacked airliners and recalls the experience of watching replays of that event over and over again on television.

These were shared events that shocked nearly everyone, traumatized more than a few and left lasting memories and, for more than a few, consequences thereafter.

Each event was different in significant ways, but the communal disruption and group emotional impact had some similar emotional impacts, short-term and long-term and certainly resulted in a more consequential communal impact than other memories during the relevant time period. PG suggests that COVID will be another such disruptive and traumatizing event, different in some ways from earlier events/periods, but similar in others.

Psychiatrists and psychologists will be picking up the pieces for a long period of time. Millions of news stories and think-pieces and masters/doctoral theses will result. Urban legends will proliferate.

Will Paper Books Be Replaced by E-books Soon? This Will Surprise You

From LifeHack:

E-books were supposed to be preferred over textbooks by now. For a variety of reasons; however, printed versions of books still prevail. For decades, researchers have been focusing their studies on how people utilize, comprehend, and process digital and paper reading material.

In recent years, researchers continued their investigation of the effectiveness and efficiency of paper text compared to digital text (such as e-books, tablets, personal computers, and laptops).  Some of their conclusions are surprising.

From Hieroglyphics to E-Books

Our brains were not designed for reading. Human beings don’t have pre-programmed genes for reading, like there are for vision and language.

Thanks to Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper, and the Gutenberg press we’ve adapted and created new circuits in our brains in order to understand texts and letters.

Prior to the emergence of the Internet, our brains read predominately in linear ways, reading one page at a time before moving on to the next page. Distractions were minimal.

When we read text using e-book devices, tablets, laptops or desktop computers we must juggle multiple distractions (hypertext, e-mails, videos, and pop-up advertisements). In addition, a simple movement like swiping a finger on the screen or readjusting the mouse leads to moving our attention away from what’s being read. These interruptions may seem minor, but they nonetheless adversely affect our comprehension, reading speed, and accuracy.

Andrew Dillon, a University of Texas professor who studies reading, had the following comment to say to the WASHINGTON POST:

“We’re spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling, and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking is just ingrained in you. We’re in this new era of information behavior, and we’re beginning to see the consequences of that.”

Some of the consequences consist of how e-books, computers, and tablets reduce our reading speed and comprehension. Researchers found people comprehend the material they read on paper better than they do on e-books.

The need to comprehend is very important; especially, regarding work and school. Even though today’s children and college students are computer savvy, the majority of them prefer printed versions of text over e-books.

Moreover, Cornell University researchers found that both users and non-users of e-books generally preferred using printed versions of textbooks, since they plan to use them continuously.

Variations in How We Read

There are several different variations to reading. For instance, there are no measurable differences between e-books and paper text when it comes to reading short passages. However, studies show students remember more when reading from paper rather than a screen.

Anne Mangen, literacy professor at Norway’s University of Stavenger, explained more about reading to WIRED:

“Reading is human-technology interaction. Perhaps the tactility and physical permanence of paper yields a different cognitive and emotional experience; reading that can’t be done in snippets, scanning here and there, but requires sustained attention.”

For example, it seems that feeling pages and smelling the book awakens something in the human subconscious. Marilyn Jager-Adams, literacy expert and cognitive psychologist at Brown University, offers this explanation:

“All those cues like what the page looks like, what the book felt like, all those little pieces help you put together the whole thing. And they are just impoverished on a Kindle or tablet.”

E-books do not allow the readers a variety of annotations (like scribbling in the margins, dog-earing, and underlining), which for many people is essential to deep reading. There’s nothing tangible to engage our other senses.

Link to the rest at LifeHack

As PG mentioned before, he has gone almost entirely ebook in his personal reading, definitely for fiction and almost always for non-fiction.

One thing he’ll note is that PG always does his long-form ebook reading on a Kindle Paperwhite. He started that seven or eight years ago because he didn’t want the interruptions that come with a standard tablet. Nothing ever pops up on his Kindle other than the next page when he taps the screen with his thumb.

One part of the OP that was relevant to PG was the comment that for books PG expects to fill with sticky notes or underlines, he does tend to purchase pbooks. However, when someone does a decent job of integrating a rich slate of annotation tools for ebooks, he’ll move away from those types of physical books as well.

Academic journal fingerprints PDFs to prevent free use of its materials

From Document Journal:

In public libraries, information is truly free. And private. In many ways, libraries are the forefathers of privacy, and perhaps the greatest remaining champions of it. The books you check out are exclusively your business unless you choose to post a picture of the final pages of Infinite Jest to prove you actually did read it, recommend the latest Sally Rooney to your book club for single women, or accessorize with a vintage copy of Dune as a mark that your sci-fi interests expand beyond the screen. Librarians live under the same code of confidentiality as doctors and lawyers: if you check out a self-help tape on how to jumpstart your love life, that’s between you and the guy behind the counter (who will pass it over without judgement). But in an age where information is largely digital, free public library cards are replaced by tempting academic studies with paywalls and hyperlinked research to even more paywalls.

It seems that digitally-hosted information not only often comes with a price, but also compromises privacy for those who choose to pay said price. After being exposed on Twitter by an independent researcher, Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers of academic papers, admitted to adding a unique fingerprint to every PDF its users downloaded. Elsevier told Vice, “The identifier in the PDF helps to prevent cybersecurity risks to our systems and to those of our customers—there is no metadata, PII [Personal Identifying Information], or personal data captured by these. Fingerprinting in PDFs allows us to identify potential sources of threats so we can inform our customers for them to act upon. This approach is commonly used across the academic publishing industry.”

Elsevier’s history of legal pursuit against those who pirate and share paywalled articles suggests that this outward commitment to the cybersecurity of their users may actually be a mask for surveillance. Perhaps instead of pursuing gross legal fees to sue those trying to equalize access to primary sources (which has led to universities boycotting Elsevier, who then loses even more money), the publisher would be better off fundraising to subsidize subscriber fees or developing a free-access program for low income users.

The information we consume now is largely filtered through media conglomerates and so-called expert commentators. When a news giant shares what might be fake news that references a paywalled source, a reader with access to the hyperlinked study is able to form their own take on it. If that access is restricted, they put their faith in the giant. I can say with fair certainty that people are more likely to fact-check their news sources if they don’t have to pay to fact-check them. Secondhand accounts can be useful in breaking down academic jargon and giving the busy reader a highlight reel, but equalizing access to information produces stronger bases for debate and dilutes the power of algorithmically powerful secondary sources.

It seems almost nonsensical that much paywalled content is produced by universities who then pay to get that paywall down for students whose tuition then goes up for such subscriptions. (Yes, this is a gross oversimplification of what is happening, but you get what I mean.) How can we keep complaining about the complete idiocy of our country when there are obvious solutions? Free community college! Free trade schools! Add financial literacy and how to navigate government resources to high school curriculums! At the very least, make information free and accessible.

Link to the rest at Document Journal

PG spent almost three unhappy years working at a large subsidiary of Elsevier catering to lawyers a long time ago.

It was truly amazing to observe the possessive attitude the company had toward documents it had not authored and, in many cases, documents that, as a matter of public policy, should have been widely distributed at no charge in PG’s irrefutably humble opinion because they were created by employees of state and federal governments.

PG’s employer during those ancient times earned a substantial amount of money for providing these documents to lawyers via one or more computer networks.

PG suggests that colleges and universities should provide substantial incentives for their employees to publish in journals that don’t live behind a paywall.

Given that the overwhelming majority of articles that appear in academic journals are written by employees of public universities or tax-exempt private universities and colleges and that the expert editorial review of these articles prior to publication is virtually always provided by other employees of the same sorts of people, it’s grossly unfair for those same educational institutions to pay exorbitant fees to access those journals.

This is one of those sort of traditional practices that “works” but which is seriously harmed by the nature and greed of the very profitable companies who have managed to set themselves up as gate-keepers for knowledge created by others who don’t require any compensation for the use of their creations.

PG hasn’t seen a publishing agreement from an academic publisher of this type for a very long time. If any of the visitors to TPV have a copy of a recent academic publishing contract, PG would love to see it. Feel free to black out your name and identifying information before sending it or PG will do it for you after he receives it.