Utopia fading: taxonomies, freedom and dissent in open access publishing

Eve, Martin Paul (2013) Utopia fading: taxonomies, freedom and dissent in open access publishing. Journal of Victorian Culture, 18 (4). pp. 536-542. ISSN 1355-5502

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2013.865979

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Item Type:Article
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It is fairly commonly known, in certain circles, that open access comes in different ‘flavours’. Besides the well-known adage of Richard Stallman that there are multiple types of freedom that can be divided into gratis and libre (‘free’ as in ‘beer’ as opposed to ‘free’ as in ‘speech’), the ways in which we provide access to material that is free in either sense are also plural. This piece, consisting of two parts, will give the historical backdrop to ‘gold’, ‘green’ and the lesser known ‘platinum’ models but also frame these routes to access in the light of a failed utopian project that has been undermined by credentialist models of assessment. While May 1968, another utopian failure, gave us slogans of hope – ‘Under the paving stones, the beach!’ – with open access publishing it seems the chances of finding our way back are growing slimmer, even if some hints of sand and surf shine through in the remaining admirable aspects of the system.

The first portion of this piece will appraise the current taxonomies of open access arguing that ‘platinum’ is a form of category error; a misplaced term that nonetheless signals current dissatisfaction. The second section here will think, practically, on the question of ‘what is to be done?’ In this second part, with reference (ironically, given the pragmatism deployed) to Adorno's theorizations of utopia, I will critique the conclusions of the UK's Finch Report as a document that neglects critical thinking, but one whose outcome may be dissent on a wide enough scale to trigger academic disobedience and revolt against the current publication system. From this I will lay out the three criteria that I believe are necessary for a transition away from ‘Article Processing Charge’-driven publication practices and the infrastructures that should be in place to capitalize on this dissatisfaction, including a modified Public Library of Science-type model.

Keywords:electronic publishing, Open Access
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P410 Electronic Publishing
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:12790
Deposited On:20 Dec 2013 18:51

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