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Academic Digital

Open Access Journals: Desirable and Inevitable?

1371280_do_you_dareInteresting piece from Times Higher Education:

We continue to witness a lot of back and forth between publishers and open-access advocates about the merits of Research Councils UK’s open-access policy – but where does it leave journal editors?

Some have echoed the publishers’ fears that open access will ruin their business models or undermine journal quality by scaring off top international authors. But not all editors share this view.

I co-edit two humanities journals: one, Shakespeare, for the large commercial publisher Taylor and Francis; the other, Theatre Notebook, for a small learned society (the Society for Theatre Research). I believe that open access is both desirable and inevitable since, as we move towards virtually cost-free digital dissemination, charging readers seems increasingly unjustifiable.

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Digital

Fools' Gold?

imagesOpen Access still causing ripples:

When UK academics in the humanities and social sciences complain of “cataclysms”, “delusional fantasies” and “sleepwalking into disaster”, you might assume they are talking about the recent removal of public funding for teaching their subjects. But there is another aspect of the government’s higher education policy that is causing increasing numbers of non-science scholars to fear the worst.

Twelve months ago, open access was a somewhat arcane cause, particularly outside the sciences. It was championed by a relatively small cadre of committed activists (often those associated with university libraries) outraged by years of above-inflation rises in journal subscription rates and fired by the conviction that research funded by the public should be freely accessible.

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Academic Digital

Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production

New online technologies have brought with them a great promise of freedom. The computer and particularly the Internet have been represented as enabling technologies, turning consumers into users and users into producers. Furthermore, lay people and amateurs have been enthusiastically greeted as heroes of the digital era. This thoughtful study casts a fresh light on the shaping of user participation in the context of, among others, popular discourse in and around new media.

Schäfer’s groundbreaking research into hacking, fan communities and Web 2.0 applications demonstrates how the dynamic of innovation, control and interaction have shifted the boundaries of the traditional culture industry into the user domain. The media industry undergoes a shift from creating content to providing platforms for user driven social interactions and user-generated content. In this extended culture industry, participation unfolds not only in the co-creation of media content and software-based products, but also in the development and defense of distinctive media practices that represent a socio-political understanding of new technologies.

You can access a free PDF download of this book on OAPEN, reviewed in the Times Higher Ed this week!

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Digital

Opening night, curtain call?

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/136272

He has adopted double-blind reviewing at the Quarterly (where neither party is known to the other), whereas the open peer-review experiment required both authors’ and reviewers’ names to be revealed.

Dr Schalkwyk said the experiment had been prompted primarily by a desire to harness the web’s potential to support greater scholarly discussion. It also reflected a feeling that “if we were going to talk about Shakespeare and new media, we should practise new media ways of doing things”.

However, he was so “pleased and excited” by what transpired – 41 people made more than 350 comments, many provoking responses from the authors – that he decided to repeat the experiment for this year’s special edition on Shakespeare and performance.

“The special editions are the best format for open review because there is a particular focus. You can target groups of experts to be your committed reviewers, and you can assume there will be a general body that will also be interested,” he said.

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Academic Digital

Open Access Journals: Has the shine faded?


The recent launch of several high-profile open-access journals by commercial publishers including Nature Publishing Group and SAGE elicited cheers from veterans of the open-access movement.

Here, they thought, was evidence that their ideal of making research freely available online, as expressed in 2002’s landmark Budapest Open Access Initiative document, was finally gaining mainstream traction.

But according to Christopher Pressler, director of research library services at the University of London, the enthusiasm for “gold” (journal-based) open access is relatively recent and amounts to a “fundamental compromise” necessitated by the open-access movement’s failure to plan for the financial sustainability and academic appeal of “green” open access, which is built around self-archiving papers in institutional repositories.

He contended that librarians’ original goal in pushing for open access was to take academic publishing away from the commercial enterprises they perceived to be making unjustifiably large profits from charging universities for access to their own research.

Mr Pressler told Times Higher Education that the rise of gold open access could lead to an even greater drain on university budgets due to some publishers’ alleged practice of “double dipping”: charging authors for open-access options without reducing subscription prices proportionately.

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