We've spoken out for a long time about why paywalls are generally a bad idea. Sure, they can earn some companies a bit of money that may slow down their decline, but there's little evidence that they can be useful in the long term. Paywalls go against almost every core concept of what works online. They make information harder to share, harder to discuss, harder to build upon. They also open up huge opportunities for others, who don't have paywalls, to step in and scoop up the missing traffic. Over at the Neurobonkers blog, they've noticed something rather ironic in a new paper from the famed journal Science, called A Human Right to Science
. Apparently, that "right to science" is so strong that Science (with a capital S) has locked it up behind a paywall.
In response, the folks at Neurobonkers have tried coining a new meme
, known as bp;dr, or "behind paywall, didn't read"
a play on the well known tl;dr
. There is an unfortunate irony at work here. Having an article on the human right to access... and then making sure it's not accessible. Whose bright idea was that?