Posted by: Gillian | October 5, 2011

Open Access scholarship: how does one eat?

Should academics ever get paid for the papers that they produce as part of their research?  Kent Anderson on this topic refers to the ‘Monbiot rant‘.  Stephen Downes, well-known for support of Open Access,  refers today to a very useful survey by David Jennings – useful despite the limitations that David clearly outlines (only academics, limited disciplines).  I wonder what difference it will make as UK undergrads start to come through having ‘paid’ for their courses? At what point does personal pain in the wallet take over from State or bursary/grant funding? What does this do for social mobility? Will only the wealthy or independently funded get recognition? Will this ultimately fail society because the best brains cannot afford to spend time on research instead of chasing pay-per-click advertising revenue?  What about the excellent research going on in companies and not-for-profits? Are they obliged to publish in Open Access mode or is it acceptable for some form of recompense to occur? Do individuals in such situations deserve extra recompense or does it go to the company/institution?

As a very part-time and distance/open learning “academic” that gives many hours to reviewing academic papers, I rather object to being asked for hundreds of dollars to view a paper I may not even find useful. It is even more galling, when self-financed, to find own work given for free is being used but not accredited by some really big institutions and I did have to chuckle recently when viewing a presentation clearly based on this: .

Open Access is complex. If sat in a university on a salary, it may make perfect ‘payback’ sense. If a reviewer or a publisher/curator or not in a university, it may appeal – but how does one eat?


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