Open Access in the Social and Political Sciences: A Surprisingly Difficult Issue
4 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
This outline contains notes for my presentation on a roundtable, so it consists of more questions than answers. The benefits of open access seem clear and persuasive; who will pay the costs is much murkier. In fact, the question of costs raises not just technical and economic issues but surprisingly difficult normative and distributive concerns. The costs of OA may be borne by individuals and their funders, organizations such as universities or foundations, the government, publishers, or professional associations. Each method of covering costs benefits some and harms others, whom we would not otherwise seek to harm. In the end, we may have to choose between more but less well-edited articles, on the one hand, or fewer and better-vetted articles, on the other; which goals, or perhaps whose goals, should predominate is a choice of values rather than technique.
Keywords: open access, redistribution, professional associations, publication, publishing costs
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