Teachers Ought to Have Free Access to Information

This idea has been rumbling around in my head a lot lately.  So let me get it out.  Teachers are underpaid, by some analyses.  Teachers use their own money in their daily jobs, that’s been documented.  Teachers impact the future, one student at a time.

I’m not arguing that teachers get paid more, that’s for bureaucrats and politicians to decide.

I’m not saying that teachers should get more control over the budgets that impact them, that’s for administrators and accountants to decide.

I’m saying that if a student comes to me and is interested in, say, semiconductors and the forces on charge carriers and I mention the Hall Effect, and then we search and I find this:


Hasn’t something fundamentally gone wrong when something as fragile but inherently powerful as a student’s transient interest gets frustrated by a paywall?  Is there any downside to giving students/teachers free access to cutting-edge materials that could ignite a student’s interest?

And what are we saying to students at schools that can’t afford even the rent of a paper, versus those students at schools where that rent is no real obstacle?

P.S.  I’m a conservative, I believe that if you don’t pay for something, you will treat it with a level of appreciation directly proportional to the amount it cost you.  But, I’m also dismayed that sometimes the best information or most current information is hedged off from those who *may* just appreciate it or need it the most.  I guess I am asking that scientific journals allow students/teachers free access, since long-term it is in their best interest.  Don’t they want more and more articles to review and publish?  Doesn’t the scientist of tomorrow deserve to see what the scientists of today are thinking?

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