Archive for March, 2009

Open Access As An Economic War

Richard Poynder published an article on the ugly economic background of the big scientific publishers (Springer, Elsevier, etc…). He thinks they might be succeeding in making even more profits by the way they are reacting to the Open Access movement. The ugly thing about this is that it’s just another scheme to turn public taxmoney into private profits. Poynder is thus suggesting that scientists, libraries, universities should back the green road to OA more forcefully. The most promising way seems to be universities and funding organizations mandating their researchers to publish OA. The only reason why this is not happening faster is institutions dragging their feet. E.g. Switzerland may have the highest ratio of universities with OA-mandates but their is no real reason why the remaining ones (Basel, Lausanne, Geneva, Lucerne, Berne, Fribourg, Lugano, Neuchatel) should not follow the example of Zurich (U and ETH), St. Gallen and the Swiss National Science Foundation in mandating their researchers to publish OA now. In the meantime, why don’t we start refusing to review for journals from big publishers?

(Another ugly way of turning public money into private profits relating to Switzerland is freeing international sport associations from taxes. See the current discussion in German.)

11/03/2009 at 10:27 Leave a comment

Even Fish Can Be Self-Critical

Stanley Fish is wrestling with an accusation of being a prime example of neoliberal ideology. Unlike many others he seems to be taking this seriously and wants to find out what “neoliberal” means when it is used in such a context. His post seems to confirm that the accuser (Sophia McClennen) is right and that Fish thought of academic freedom as something purely apolitical. I find it worrying that academics need to become aged professors before they even start thinking about their work as something that might be political. Students of the social sciences start this thinking process in their first semesters when they are confronted with the positivism dispute and the Frankfurt School.

Why is it that the most basic themes of sociology get no reception in other domains? Even someone like Stanley Fish is only slowly catching up. But late is better than never, I guess.

09/03/2009 at 12:39 Leave a comment