Two interesting articles this week press on the concern of my last post, “Creative Commons”. Part of the aim of our Great Writers Inspire project is to make high-quality, research-inspired material on literary topics freely available on the web. Part of Fitzpatrick’s excellent critique of academic publishing in Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy is about library costs, publishing profits, and the paradox that universities effectively salary their research staff while they are writing their books and articles, and pay again for the journals or monographs they produce. Using the internet to take out some of the costs of the reproduction of scholarship – given that for many, but not all academic writers the costs of production of that scholarship are paid for in their salary – seems one way to cut out a commercial middleman, as well as to harness some of the benefits of more extended peer review. It’s part of a number of suggestions in this piece by Martin Paul Eve in the Guardian .
Open access scholarship seems such an obviously good thing for academics who are employed in a publicly funded university – just – like Oxford that it is interesting to read contrary views, as here in the “Times Higher Education Supplement. In part the Oxford colleagues quoted here are talking about something different – sacrificing a regular academic salary because of an expectation of income from previous publications, for instance – but there is also a statement of principle, and the idea that the academic worker whose work is freely available allows his or her labour to be undervalued precisely because it opts out of the consumer model. Interesting. It reminds me of a successful businessman who told me I should charge for my
- This project is creating a website dedicated to the theme “Great Writers inspire – learning from the past”. On the site you will be able to find freely available content related to individual authors and literary themes. We are using this blog to let you follow the progress of the project and explore the material as it is being made available. Feel free to send us your comments and suggestions! Want to be inspired? Explore the podcasts on the Great Writers Inspire podcast page.