Jason Schmitt is a filmmaker, journalist and Chair of the Department of Communication, Media & Design at Clarkson University. Schmitt concentrates his research toward online education impacting a global audience, open access relating to academic publications, and the reproducibility crisis in science. As a filmmaker, his documentary, "Paywall: The Business of Scholarship," has had 400 public screenings at institutions around the globe and an audience of over 250,000 have viewed the film. 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; National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan; and nearly every ivy league institution in the US.
Schmitt’s documentary, “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship,” 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% 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.
Schmitt’s prior film career found him as the interviewer/field producer for the documentary, "Louder Than Love," a film on the historic rock venue The Grande Ballroom and its influence on rock and roll music. The film was awarded an Emmy in 2016 and has been to more than 35 festivals from Detroit to LA and London to Australia.
As a journalist, Schmitt has written more than 75 pieces for outlets like The Guardian, Forbes Asia, Huffington Post, Slate, EdSurge, BoingBoing, EuroDoc, Elmore Magazine, and DBusiness. He also has had his photographic work featured in National Geographic.
Schmitt is involved in providing insight and leadership toward startup companies in the digital space and has judged over 1,000 startup pitches and business models for venture capital funding.
Schmitt has two textbooks, “Purposeful Communication in the Digital Age” (2018) and “Speaking with a Purpose” (2017). Both books are published through Routledge.