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Forum 25:

Open Access, Piracy, and the Scholarly Publishing Market

Held Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Forum Summary

Christopher Kelty pursues research in the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including their impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues pertaining to peer review and research in the sciences and the humanities. He is trained in science studies (history and anthropology) and has written about methodological issues facing anthropology today.

In his lecture, Professor Kelty will provide necessary context by reviewing the politics and history of the challenges of scholarly publication; how publishing fits into knowledge production; how publishers have come to be a key component in the scholarly ecology and the political economy that sustain both universities and individual academic work; and the emergence of open access research and its links to other similar movements and technologies. Building on this context, Professor Kelty will focus on the struggle of some academics to create a viable form of open access, and the under-theorized indifference of the majority of academics to the open access question. Using his own experience in shepherding an open access policy through the University of California’s academic governance system, he will identify some of the reasons open access is simultaneously desired and resisted, and reflect on the assumptions beneath this tension. He will conclude by reflecting on the idea that we may not want the open access we are going to get.