Thursday, March 26, 2009

Steal this Research

Hmm. This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Could have an impact on our classrooms in the long view, but perhaps even more directly right now on our ed school classes and access to information. According to Ars Technica, MIT's faculty has voted unanimously for open access to all publications researched at the university. Some publishers are aghast.

Professor Hal Abelson, in a statement provided by MIT, said, "scholarly publishing has so far been based purely on contracts between publishers and individual faculty authors. In that system, faculty members and their institutions are powerless. This resolution changes that by creating a role in the publishing process for the faculty as a whole, not just as isolated individuals." Ann Wolpert, who directs MIT's libraries, said, "in the quest for higher profits, publishers have lost sight of the values of the academy."

Jeez... between this fight and the recent Kindle text-to-speech business, the publishing industry is sure looking kinda jerky. Maybe they should take a cue from the likes of bands like Wilco who have only benefited in sales from putting stuff online for free. Counter-intuitive? Surely. 21st Century? Totally.


  1. I don't think it's a matter of being counter-intuitive. Comparing academic publishing to a band is not exactly...plausible. Apples and oranges. Publicly funded projects to works of passion.

    I can see how their current system works: publish the journals in paper-form, and six months later, the information will be available to the public. The one who really want to know the most up-to-date information are probably the researchers in the field, so their subscription is safe.

    I wouldn't do away with publishing all-together, especially in research fields. There is a degree of validation, accomplishment, and validity that comes with having papers and research published. To say "I am a published researcher"...not as an elitist, but to be someone in an ocean of potentially qualified individuals.

  2. Implausible things happen all the time. Apples AND oranges! Human sacrifice! Cats and dogs: living together! Mass hysteria!

    Anyway, it looks like the folks at MIT feel just as accomplished and validated having their stuff run open access. Good for them.


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