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Protests, Petitions and Publishing

5th March 2012

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Last week, FUP Director, Fredric Nachbaur, attended a panel at Columbia University. This was Columbia University’s Scholarly Communication Program’s third event this academic year in their speakers series, Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication. The panel discussed how Occupy Wall Street, the Research Works Act (RWA), the boycott of Elsevier journals by a growing number of academics, and other recent developments are informing the debate over access to research and scholarship.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) posted Fred’s recap of the event on the AAUP blog, The Digital Digest:

Is Academic Publishing in a Downward Zombie Death Spiral?

When I was invited to the panel “Protests, Petitions and Publishing: Widening Access to Research in 2012,” I was on the fence about attending. Did I really want to spend two hours of my day hearing the debate on open access, anticipating that it would be filled with much controversy? Because it was close and I was confident that I would learn something, I made the short trek earlier this week from the Bronx to Morningside Heights, even scoring a parking spot in front of the Columbia building housing the event on a day on which alternate-side-of-the-street parking was in effect. The press release indicated that the event was meant to consider how Occupy Wall Street, the Research Works Act (RWA), the boycott of Elsevier journals by a growing number of academics, and other recent developments are informing the debate over access to research and scholarship on open access. The event was hosted by Columbia’s Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) and included a diverse panel of speakers. I’ll do my best to summarize the session based on my notes drafted the old school way on a notepad in barely legible handwriting. (This exercise made me realize that I need to embrace the iPad more.) The audio will be available shortly, so I will post a link on the Digital Digest when it is. The issues are complicated, and there are no easy answers as was evident by the talk on Monday. Alex Golub from the University of Hawaii called current publishing models a death spiral. As most of us know, the hard sciences are very different from the humanities. The AAUP made an official statement about three pieces of legislation related to research policies that have resulted in a flurry of mixed responses from university press directors. READ MORE

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