Image credit: Flickr,wheelo50411
I’ve been thinking a lot about the academic journal industry lately, inspired not least by Prof Jason Baird Jackson’s blog posts from a perspective of American Anthropology. I’ve also been inspired by the news that the Ordinance Survey in the UK is to make its maps available for free.
If the public pays for researchers to produce academic articles, why should the public pay a second time over for research libraries to buy back those articles? And a third time in paying the wages of those same academics when they work for ‘free’ editing commercial scholarly journals?
If the Ordinance Survey did what universities do, they’d give their maps away for nothing to Wiley or Blackwells or Routledge, second their staff to edit them for free, then buy them back at extortionate rates just to put them back on their own shelves. Yet when academics do this, everyone seems to think it’s reasonable or at least inevitable. Why?
I’ll write more on this but for now a couple of thoughts:
- How is this not a profiteering exercise? Answers on a postcard, please.
- Is this profiteering (if that’s what it is) not a very temporary situation, which will be/ is already being made obsolete by converging technologies of knowledge sharing?
- Doesn’t the opposition to such practices sometimes go beyond the perfectly reasonable claim that private firms are making money from free labour, and veer towards the possibly less reasonable claim that academia should keep its hands clean of involvement with the ‘for profit’ sector’? Or is it just me?
- Oh and doesn’t fake tilt-shift photography look good?
Read more about open access and GM technology.