"Southampton University has made all of its academic and scientific research output available for free on the web. The University said the decision marks a new era in Open Access to research in the UK; it will host workshops for other academic institutions thinking of making a similar transition."
Fortunately the general public do not understand the bizarre system by which academic research is published. If they did they would think even less of academics than they do already.
Universities employ academic staff to carry out research. The academics write up their research in the form of articles which they hope will be published. If an academic has enough articles published they will be paid even more by their university. To get their articles published the academics must give their work [including the copyright] free of charge to commercial publishers. The publishers print and bind the articles neatly and then sell them back to university libraries.
Yes, that’s right, the universities are buying back the work of their own employees. At the same time they are complaining that they are under funded.
"The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad."
Mr Toad the publisher has been doing very well out of this absurdity. Perhaps the Internet and Open Access will start to give the taxpayers a better deal.