Jason Schmitt Headshot

Filmmaker Jason Schmitt

Jason Schmitt, a filmmaker who investigates the economic and societal impact of academic publishing, will speak 5:30 p.m. Monday, October 21, at the Normal Theatre in Uptown Normal.

Schmitt will introduce his documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, before a showing of the film. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Milner Library as part of Open Access Week 2019 activities, the talk is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series. A discussion will follow the documentary.

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship has been screened around the globe. The documentary specifically investigates the economic and societal impact of academic publishing, the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, the 35-40 percent profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier, and how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable technology companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google.

A filmmaker, journalist, and chair of the Department of Communication, Media & Design at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, Schmitt concentrates his research toward online education impacting a global audience, open access relating to academic publications, and the reproducibility crisis in science. Since September 2018, Schmitt has given lectures in support of open access to research at venues as diverse as the United Nations, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the University of Iceland, Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France; The British Library in London, England; Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany; the Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE) in Indonesia and nearly every ivy league institution in the US.

As a journalist, Schmitt has written more than 70 pieces for outlets like Forbes Asia, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Slate, EdSurge, BoingBoing, EuroDoc, Elmore Magazine, and DBusiness. He also has had his photographic work featured in National Geographic.

The Illinois State University Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.