18 März 2022

Threats to Academic Freedom under the Guise of Open Access

The Budapest Open Access Initiative is celebrating its 20th anniversary and today it seems that we are closer than ever to finally concluding the “access revolution” predicted by many since the arrival of the internet. Yet, developments in the publishing system increasingly suggest that the access revolution is much less revolutionary than expected. Reports gradually bring to light the extent to which publishers started to use the data tracking tools developed by “pioneers” such as Google and Facebook. This development could not only be the final blow for the Open Access movement’s potential to more radically and structurally change the way knowledge is being disseminated in the digital age but pose a systematic threat to the autonomy of the science system and academic freedom in the digital age. Continue reading >>
21 Dezember 2021

Open Access, Market Power, and Rents

The notion that scientific progress depends on access to the existing stock of knowledge is an old one. It dates to the 12th century when the French philosopher Bernard of Chartres observed: “We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” Continue reading >>

Unknown Shibboleth: On the Opacity of Gatekeeping

Without specifying its meaning or context, openness remains an empty category. It commonly evokes a positive sentiment, but what does it mean to say: We are opening up this or that? And what does it disguise? It even compares with excellence in this respect: a word that is en vogue to be thrown into debates about the future of the academy. Continue reading >>

Open / Closed

Open Access suggests the absence of gates and gatekeepers – but this is evidently not the case. Who gets to publish what and where is still very much a decision made by certain people in certain positions following certain procedures. Although Open Access carries the promise of removing barriers and democratising access, numerous barriers beyond the obvious ones like paywalls or processing charges exist or are being installed. Continue reading >>
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