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2018: Inaugural Issue

Creating German Subtitles for the movie "Paywall: The Business of Scholarship": Availability & Accessibility

December 4, 2018


Nowadays, most researchers and scholars are familiar with the Open Access movement, its goals, and, at least, the immediate effect of having access to publications without going through paywalls. But explaining the issues of the economics and politics of scientific publishing to a person outside of the ivory tower can be often challenging.

When jason Schmitt published the film "Paywall: The Business of Scholarship" in 2018, I thought that my prayers had been heard. I thought that I could finally point curious friends and family members ("So what are you actually doing over there in Vancouver again?") to a comprehensive resource to answer some of the questions they had. Until I realized that many of my frieds and family members did not speak English. Even though the film is openly licensed and freely available on Vimeo, the availability of the film itself did not ensure accessibility of the content for people who don't understand English.

Thus, I decided to work on the German subtitles as my attempt to make knowledge public. This attempt to liberate the knowledge contained within the confines of the English language constists of two parts:

1. I have translated ~15% of the subtitiles for Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. The subtitles can be accessed and edited on Amara.

2. An effort to crowdsource further contributions to the subtitles on Twitter. Lead to some engagement with the German speaking Open Access and Open Science community and an initial contribution from Lisa Matthias.