A tremendous post on the question to know whether information technologies trump the scholarly publishing or whether the academic publishing subordinates itself to the information technologies. In my view the response is that both statements are true because the respective influence is not at all linear but instead pretty much interactive. As for the sponsored payments by the tobacco industry for author-paid open access publishing, the expression of concern is also relevant for the traditional publishing because private corporations can very well sponsor subscriptions in reader-paid publishing. The key point is the conflict of interest disclosure (which is perhaps more easy to uncover in the open access publishing where the payment is made on behalf of the author).
- Backlash Against Academic Publishing Continues to Grow (michaelgeist.ca)
- Provocative proposal to force scholarly publishers to respect open-access wishes of their unpaid contributors (boingboing.net)
- Harvard Libraries join the fight for open access (scienceblogs.com)
- Harvard advisory council promotes open access publishing, says journals are too expensive (theverge.com)
Does scholarly publishing drive information technology (IT)? Or does IT drive scholarly publishing?
If you believe the former, you essentially agree that academic culture trumps technology — that incentives reflecting a deeper belief system ultimately blunt and shape any intrusion of technology; legal and cultural precedents largely withstand the whims of technological change; and human nature remains fundamentally the same despite a new veneer of technological capabilities.
If you believe the latter, you probably instinctively feel that technological revolutions will inevitably yield social revolutions on a magnitude as great or greater than the technology itself would suggest; that legal and social contracts can crumble under the pressure of technological change; and that human nature can be overcome if surrounded by enough technology.
Open access advocates and self-anointed revolutionaries often come from the “technology trumps culture” camp. I remember asking Harold Varmus in the early days of e-Biomed why it seemed…
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