I approve of the idea that material is available to a wider audience. As academics largely end up funding these, why not give access to a wider audience (so long as the material is not too esoteric!)
Between peer-reviewed journals and popular journalism lies a gap in which “the new knowledge, valuable critical insight, and fresh perspectives that academia produces” can be brought from behind pay walls to the wider readership it deserves.
That is the belief of the scholars behind The Public Intellectual, a new online magazine due to be launched in March, which is seeking submissions from researchers in the humanities or social sciences and plans to cover issues such as civil rights, race, feminism, sexuality, immigration and more. It is due to be published several times a year in an open-access format, although readers will have to pay for the planned iPad and Kindle e-reader editions.
The magazine is the brainchild of three American women who met at graduate school. Heather Tirado Gilligan, editor and publisher, studied for a PhD at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, before becoming a journalist, but her collaborators remain within the academy. Nikki Jones, social science editor, is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Jane Elliott, humanities editor, a lecturer in English and related literature at the University of York.
Dr Elliott said the idea behind the venture was “to get academic research out beyond the bounds of academia, so we are not just talking to each other. People are unsure about how to break into a more public venue. We hope to re-situate debates and debunk faulty assumptions, to open out rather than close down conversations, to engage people even if they think they already know the answer.”