ATG Hot Topic of the Week: The Economics of Scholarly Communication

by Jonathan H. Harwell, Georgia Southern University

The economic aspects of scholarly communication are all over the news lately.

George Monbiot’s August 29 column in the Guardian, “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist,” which, as you can tell from the title, has some harsh words about publishers.  This has set off a flurry of responses.  I’ve noticed that the anthropology blogs have lit up; check out Savage Minds’ “Academic publishing:  Join in, or opt out?

JSTOR announced via e-mail on Sept. 7 that they’re making some articles open-access:  “Today, we are making journal content on JSTOR published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere freely available to the public for reading and downloading. This content includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals, representing approximately 6% of the total content on JSTOR.”  Details on their Early Journal Content are at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-journal-content.

The next day, Kevin Smith and Siva Vaidhyanathan gave a great presentation, hosted by Educause, on “The Georgia State Copyright Case: Issues and Implications.”  Thoughtful, clear, and provocative, and I even heard a colleague say it was great as soon as it ended.  This is not the norm for copyright webinars!  You can catch the archive here.

And I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but I’ll go out on a limb and recommend today’s episode of WREK’s weekly “Lost in the Stacks” radio show from Georgia Tech’s library.  Today’s theme is “Intellectual Property,” so it should fit right in.  The archive is up until September 16 at http://www.wrek.org/lostinthestacks/.

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