Taking on commercial scholarly journals: Reflections on the 'open access' movement [Book Review]

Journal of Academic Ethics 2 (1):101-118 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the open access movement in scholarly publishing, a movement of research librarians, scholars, research funding bodies and other stakeholders of the scholarly research process. Open access advocates argue that scholarly communities need to organize against the currently unworkable system whereby academics donate articles for free, yet have to buy them back at often exorbitant prices from journal publishers. In particular, they seek to replace subscription-based funding of journals with a range of alternatives that includes self-archiving and publication fees by researchers and their sponsors. The central claims of my study are twofold. The first is that the open access movement has indeed highlighted the need for the reform of scholarly publishing markets and practices. My second claim, however, is that certain proposals and models for reform are premised on over-optimistic views about disintermediation in scholarly communication as well as exaggerated assertions about the benefits of removing price barriers when larger issues about the system of open science remain to be addressed.

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