Varieties of openness and types of digital anthropology: Avoiding confusion in discussing Danny Miller
peter.suber's bookmarks 2013-03-31
"We ﬁnd Danny Miller’s recent article in Hau (Miller 2012) interesting and provocative (as ever in Miller’s work) but it confuses several issues which are best considered separately. Miller advocates a model of openness in publication which sees a move away from commercial, proﬁt driven organisations being in control of academic publishing. He argues that openness should not mean an abandonment of the peer review process. The issue of open publication is, however, far from simple. The ideal model espoused by Miller and roundly endorsed by most of the commentators to his discussion piece is one with which, in principle we suspect, few academics would care to disagree. Who would not welcome a world in which rigorously vetted, credible knowledge was made freely available to everyone? There are however real constraints on the model proposed by Miller, not least of which is the fact that open publication means a number of different things and Miller only touches on a small part of the problem. Open publication can indeed refer to publications which are free from charge to the reader at the point of use. It might also refer to publication which is free of peer review. This is excluded by Miller as undesirable. Open may also refer to the status of documents for re-use. Miller’s paper also raises the issue of language hegemony in which large parts of the world are excluded from the highest ranked academic journals because they are not able to write in English to a sufﬁciently high standard. Online publication, while not automatically 'open' and certainly not necessarily free at the point of use, is offered as an important part of the solution to the problem of the evils of closed access, commercially driven publishing interests...."