As anyone who has searched for information on the web and found themselves going first to a Wikipedia page will know, the web has is challenging the way that information is gathered and disseminated. This is starting to find its way into the academic world with an increased interest in open access publishing models.
Given that these models can run with very small costs, using electronic rather than paper based distribution, and still maintain quality standards through peer reviews etc. I can’t see how anyone, other than the publishing companies, would loose out from abandoning “academic capitalism”.
There is some self interest here, having recently had to pay £70 pounds for a philosophy of action book even after I used the brilliant meta-search engine bookfinder.com to find the cheapest option (it was Schmid’s Plural Action published by Springer). But it seem to me that academic researchers (who are funded to do their research) and Universities (who have to shell out so much of the Library budgets) would all benefit.
What can we do to advance the open access movement? Well I agree with Janneke Adema’s take on Ted Striphas recommendations:
“urging people to no longer play the passive card but to actively try, collectively, to change the current system. One of the things he stresses is to change our research practices, to experiment with new, more open forms of communication: we need to experiment with form, content and process and we should try to leave aside our paper-centric notions. And this change starts at the individual level.” More Cultural Studies = Less Uptake