At The Crux blog, Mike Taylor — a dinosaur paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in the UK — says that academic publishing is "in a horrible mess," and that authors and publishers have increasingly antagonistic relationships. The Cost of Knowledge boycott — the refusal of more than 6,000 researchers to write, edit, or review articles for Elsevier because of the publisher's support for the Research Works Act — illustrates this new tense relationship, Taylor says.
While issues like RWA were the "immediate triggers" of the anger, they aren't the real cause. "Now there are no technical barriers to access, the only way publishers can charge for it is by making barriers: paywalls. So we have a huge and tragic disconnect: what publishers want — barriers — is the exact opposite of what authors want — universal access. It’s authors vs. publishers," he adds.