O is for open (as well as optimal, operable, optimistic, organic)
Keywords:Open, Open Journal Systems, Academic Publishing, CFS/RCEA
Much as we might like to think of the academy as an enlightened domain of pure knowledge creation, it is inextricably linked to financial and corporate influences. The business of academic publishing is a complex ecosystem of actors, processes, expectations, and perversions. Many of us have encountered—indeed, have reinforced—such entanglements. Very often our academic success depends on learning the rules of engagement and then following them. We research, we write, we publish; we review, we critique, we edit. We make our textual submissions and pay our subscription fees, whether directly to a journal or indirectly through our participation in the institutions, organizations, and libraries to which we are connected.
But this system, when we start to unpack it, can present some pretty nefarious effects. Research papers published in for-profit journals are not easily and freely accessible to those outside of institutional life. Yet these papers are generally produced by people with access to public funding, either from research councils or educational institutions. By paying for journal articles that sit behind paywalls, we are effectively transferring tax revenue into the pockets of private corporations. Of course, for those who can’t or don’t want to pay, there are semi- and non-legal options, but even ‘free’ access to PDFs comes with costs (often folded back into commercial publishers’ fee structures).
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 David Szanto, Alexia Moyer
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