Peter Baldwin, Why are Universities Open Access Laggards?
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-04-21
"In all this, where are the big university research libraries and their core clientele, the professoriate? Absent from the vanguard and often fighting rearguard battles against open access, is the dispiriting answer. As a caste, the professoriate has ignored and at times resisted their universities’ attempts to make them deposit at least prepublication versions of works in open access repositories. Even though the average academic monograph now sells but sixty copies, and even though professors happily collect that part of their salaries intended to cover the research effort, they insist on being counted among the independent creators, entitled to publish their works as they please and collect royalties as best they can.26 The worst offenders are those who are vested in copyright as authors of textbooks which they hope will sell widely and make them wealthy. Scholarly societies in the humanities often live off the subscriptions to their journals. These were usually sold at reasonable prices, but many have now thrown in their lot with the big presses, becoming bundled as part of packages that are off ered to university libraries in take-it-or-leave-it deals....
Digitality has fundamentally undermined copyright. We are mostly salaried content producers now who do not need its protections. Dissemination has become significantly costless, removing the other main argument for copyright. The university world is that part of content production which least needs or deserves traditional copyright. It is that part which should be most interested in universal access and the extraordinary promise it holds out for the world outside the academic bubble. But despite that, it is barely a follower and often a hindrance. For shame!"