Chipping Away at Academic Capitalism through Open Access: Chipping Away at Academic Capitalism through Open Access
Slaughter and Rhoades have put forth a theory of academic capitalism which conceptualizes “colleges and universities as shifting from a public good knowledge/learning regime to an academic capitalist knowledge/learning regime” (p. 28). It is a model which portrays knowledge as shifting from a public good to a private good. Nowhere is this shift more evident than in the world of scholarly publishing. As the drive for publication in ‘core journals’ increases so too does the power of publishing cartels. The net result is a ‘serial crisis’ whereby a small group of publishers charge institutions exorbitant prices for ‘knowledge products’ for which they pay little or nothing. This article looks at the ‘counter revolution’ currently taking place as scholars look to alternative models for publication to address what some have termed the ‘intellectual hostage crisis’. This article begins by looking at the shift in values as the academic capitalist regime, as outlined by Slaughter and Rhoades, becomes firmly established in higher education. These value characteristics are then used as a framework for examining alternative models of academic publishing in order to determine how each model may effectively reverse the transition back toward a public good knowledge/learning regime. Finally, conclusions are presented whereby model characteristics are compared within this academic capitalist framework.
Keywords: Academic Capitalism, Scholarly Publishing, Online Publishing, Open Access
Associate Director, University of Illinois Research Park and Incubation Programs, University of Illinois