If you are using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in your work, you’re challenged with teachings students the ins and outs of how the articles, books, and websites they use in their research come to be. Particularly when considering the frame “Information has value,” students must learn about the business of scholarship—who produces it, what they produce, who controls what makes it to library shelves, and where the money goes.
A new, open-access documentary can inform your work in this area; it’s also engaging enough to assign to students, especially those who are advanced enough in their information literacy knowledge to question the system. The documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, produced by Jason Schmitt, is timely, given that it delves into the controversial profits earned by scholarship giant Elsevier, a company currently in the news as having been dropped by the University of California as a vendor. Coverage of Elsevier serves as a jumping-off point for Schmitt to urge the wider adoption of open access works, a world that students definitely need to know about, especially those considering careers in the sciences.