(updated) Danah Boyd on Open Access: "Boycott locked-down journals"

“This is the last article that I will publish to which the public cannot get access. I am boycotting locked-down journals and I’d like to ask other academics to do the same", writes Danah Boyd on her blog:

On one hand, I’m excited to announce that my article “Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreck: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence” has been published in Convergence 14(1) (special issue edited by Henry Jenkins and Mark Deuze).

On the other hand, I’m deeply depressed because I know that most of you will never read it. It is not because you aren’t interested (although many of you might not be), but because Sage is one of those archaic academic publishers who had decided to lock down its authors and their content behind heavy iron walls.

What’s the point of writing papers if no one can read them? The journals are “god-awful expensive and no one outside of a niche market knows what’s in them", she writes:

Digital copies of the articles have intense DRM protection, often with expiration dates and restrictions on saving/copying/printing. Authors must sign contracts vowing not to put the articles or even drafts online. (Sage -allows- you to posts articles one year following publication.) Academic publishers try to restrict you from making copies for colleagues, let alone for classroom use.
The result? Academics are publishing to increasingly narrow audiences who will never read their material purely so that they can get the right credentials to keep their job. This is downright asinine. If scholars are publishing for audiences of zero, no wonder no one respects them.

This has to change, she writes. Scholars have a responsibility to make their work available as a public good.

She proposes:

  • Tenured Faculty and Industry Scholars: Publish only in open-access journals
  • Disciplinary associations: Help open-access journals gain traction
  • Tenure committees: Recognize alternate venues and help the universities follow
  • Young punk scholars: Publish only in open-access journals in protest, especially if you’re in a new field
  • All scholars: Start reviewing for open-access journals. Help make them respected
  • Universities: Support your faculty in creating open-access journals on your domains

>> read the whole post on her blog


Anne Galloway does not think boycott is the way to go: “I fully support open-access scholarship, but find danah boyd’s recent post on boycotting “locked-down” journals naive at best, and offensive at worst", she writes in her blog. Furthermore she think Danah Boyd “overstates the “lock-down".":

I’ve published articles with Sage and Taylor&Francis, and was able to publish almost identical draft versions here. All I did was hand-write that provision onto my contract before I signed it, and no one ever objected.

>> read the whole post by Anne Galloway

There are now more than twenty comments on Danah’s post, including by publishers, a very interesting discussion!


A quick guide to selv-archiving for anthropologists (mainly USA/GB-related, it seems) by Kerim Friedman

Anthropology News February about Open Access Anthropology

2006 - The Year of Open Access Anthropology?

Why Open Access?

Open Access News


Comment from: Delia [Visitor]  

These are all valid points, but there should also be a discussion of the infrastructure. For journals published by a publisher (such as Sage), the whole publishing process is taken care of. Marketing, as well as revenue are covered. Given that academics take the task of being editors and grad students usually act as managing editors, the material circumstances and time commitments are also important aspects.

The Canadian Journal of Communication - open access- has managed to do very well and even bring in some profit.

2008-02-07 @ 16:05
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, that’s something that has been discussed in the comment field in Danah’s blog as well!

And here’s the link to the Canadian Journal of Communication

2008-02-07 @ 22:53

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