Academic freedom, journals and business priorities

An interesting row has blown up over the publication of a special edition of the journal Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation which has, according to the Times Higher, led its Editorial Board to the brink of resignation.

The journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis one of the world’s biggest journal publishers, appears to have objected to the editors’ decision to go ahead with an edition of the journal which focused on ‘the large profits made by commercial publishers on the back of academics’ labours’.

The full article can be found here.

The concentration of publishing power in the hands of a few global companies, and the potential conflict between the freedom to publish good research and the business imperative to generate a profit, has increasingly been the subject of discussion between academics who see their institutions being charged large amounts for work which they have given freely to the publishers. The debate is given an edge by ongoing developments in the area of Open Publishing.

It will be interesting to see whether the near stand-off over Prometheus will lead to a wider debate or whether the status quo will be resumed.

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