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Pirate Philosophy

Pirate Philosophy

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Published by: fernando on Feb 28, 2010
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10/24/2011

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CULTURE MACHINE VOL 10
1
PIRATE PHILOSOPHY (VERSION 1.0): OPEN ACCESS, OPEN EDITING, FREE CONTENT,FREE/LIBRE/OPEN MEDIA 
Gary Hall
 Welcome to the 10
th
anniversary issue of 
Culture Machine
. Thepublication of this edition, which takes as its theme ‘PiratePhilosophy’, coincides with our move to a new home with OpenHumanities Press, and a new publishing system called Open JournalSystems.
1
 
Culture Machine
has also had a corresponding redesign,thanks to my colleagues at Open Humanities Press, David Ottina,Sigi Jöttkandt and Paul Ashton. So a lot has changed: not just sinceour first edition way back in 1999 but since our last one in 2007 too. Anniversaries are often a time for reflection - on where we might beheaded as much as where we have been. So I thought I would beginthis first issue of the renewed
Culture Machine
by speculating onsome of the changes to our current systems of publishing anddisseminating academic research and ideas that might take placeover the course of… well, if not the
next ten years
exactly, then thenext three to five at least. In the process I want to explore some of the implications and consequences of such changes for our ideas of the author, the book, the scholarly journal, peer review, intellectualproperty and indeed piracy. Given the recent transformations to
Culture Machine
– and especially our new home with OpenHumanities Press and new publishing system with Open JournalsSystems (which means the
Culture Machine
 journal is now compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for MetadataHarvesting)
2
14 October 2008 was recently declared the First International Open Access Day by the scientific and medical publisher PLoS (the Public– it seems only fitting to take as my starting point forlaunching these speculations a discussion of open access (OA).
The Future of... Open Access
 
 
HALL • PIRATE PHILOSOPHY 
CM
10
2009
2Library of Science), working in conjunction with SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Students forFreeCulture and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.
3
For those stillunfamiliar with the term, open access is concerned with making peerreviewed scholarly research and publications freely available onlinefor all those who are able to access the Internet, without the need topay subscriptions either to publish or to (pay per)view it (in openaccess’ purest forms, anyway). ‘Free’ in this context also means freeto upload to and download from, free to read, print out, reproduceand distribute copies, and also free of the majority of restrictionsassociated with publishers’ policies, licensing and copyrightagreements.
4
  While there are many different variations of open access, most takeone of two main forms: what are called the ‘Gold’ and the ‘Green’roads to open access. The ‘Gold Road’ refers to publishing researchin online open access journals; the ‘Green Road’ to authors makingtheir work - which may or may not have
already
been publishedelsewhere – available open access by self-archiving digital copies of itin either subject or institutionally-based online repositories. Thatsaid it is also worth noting a further nuance in the understanding of open access, something that has been introduced recently in thename of greater accuracy and precision. This concerns a distinctionthat at times needs to be made between what is termed
 gratis
OA and
libre
OA. Gratis OA is where the obstacle of cost, and only theobstacle of cost, has been taken out of the equation, so that access toresearch published gratis OA is
 freely
available (as in ‘free beer’). Inlibre OA, meanwhile, not only has the obstacle of cost beenremoved, one or more of the barriers concerning the permissionsthat need to be sought to copy, reproduce or distribute a given text
have been removed too. Yet these last two terms are really only 
necessary when one wants to differentiate explicitly between openaccess that is gratis and libre. For the most part it is just the termopen access, and within that, ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ open access, that isused (Suber, 2008). A number of different arguments have been put forward as to why academics should make their research – which they may also be dueto publish in a journal or with a publisher of their own choosing, if they have not already done so - freely available open access, not only to other universities, but also to colleges, research institutes, schools,public libraries, community centresand the general public alike, on a world-wide basis.They include:
 
 
HALL • PIRATE PHILOSOPHY 
CM
10
2009
3
 
the economic argument: that taxpayers should not have topay twice for the same research - once to fund academics tocarry it out, and then again a second time to access it in theform of library or journal subscriptions, book cover prices,photocopying charges and so on;
 
the moral argument: that our ‘
commitment to the value andquality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend thecirculation of this work as far as possible, and ideally to all whoare interested in it 
’, including those who live in less affluentparts of the world, rather than restricting access to ourresearch merely to those who can afford it, as we often donow (Willinsky, 2006: 5);
 
the healthy 
 
democratic public sphere argument: that doingso helps to create a healthy democracy by working to break down barriers between the academic community and therest of society and so supplying the public with theinformation they need to make knowledgeable decisionsand actively contribute to political debate;
 
the gift economy argument: that it assists in establishing aradical, new kind of economy in which knowledge andgoods are circulated as gifts rather than as commodities to be bought and sold.The
Culture Machine
journal has been (‘Gold’) open access from itsinception in 1999.
Culture Machine
is completely free for authors topublish in: we do not charge for peer reviewing or operate a pay-to-publish policy, for instance. Its contents are also free for readers toaccess, view and download (i.e. there are no subscription charges).More recently,
Culture Machine
has joined the likes of arXiv, SSRN(Social Science Research Network), CiteSeerX, RePEc (ResearchPapers in Economics), PubMed Central, and the EuropeanResearch Paper Archive in providing a ‘Green’ open accessrepository, launching in 2006 what is still to our knowledge the only such archive for research and publications in cultural studies andcultural theory.
5
This, too, is free for authors to publish in and forreaders to access and download from. So
Culture Machine
could besaid to have played a small part in the move toward making researchavailable open access which has slowly begun to take place in thehumanities over the last few years. It is a move which in the UK hasseen the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and theESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) recently adoptopen access self-archiving mandates which require the researchersthey fund to make copies of any resulting articles they publish in

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