How the Chinese Censors Highlight Fundamental Flaws in Academic Publishing - Made in China Journal
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-05-23
"In this context, where academic subjugation to profit-oriented publishers is the normal state of affairs, we should not be so surprised at the indifference with which Springer Nature’s candid admission of profit-driven self-censorship was met. After all, in a market system that prizes profits above all else, this decision makes perfect sense. Even the challenges to CUP and now Springer Nature fail to address the fundamental reasons that academic publishers are casually jettisoning the supposedly sacred value of academic freedom in the search for higher profits. Calls to boycott publishers in order to threaten their bottom line might work if their commercial interests are actually threatened by the boycott, but it only does so by feeding into the same profit-seeking mechanisms that prompted the bad behaviour in the first place. It does not deal with the fundamental crisis in academic publishing—that profit-oriented publishers will prioritise profit at the expense of core academic values.
This is a harsh reality to confront, but one that we must face up to if we are to properly understand what these incidents mean for the future of academic publishing. We are now in a new normal, where academic publishers willingly and unapologetically capitulate to the interests of powerful actors in order to maintain market access. It is not enough to just react to outrageous incidents or engage in isolated boycotts against individual publishers. The only option is to collectively extract ourselves from the exploitative relationships that undermine our academic values and to reclaim academic publishing through truly open, free, and non-profit-oriented modes of academic dissemination."