The Case for Open Access. | The Pirate Party

“What are the real costs of running a journal, then? In the digital age, print editions of journals are at best a quaint reminder of the past and at worst a waste of space; every journal worth it’s salt is available online. Online publishing is quick and cheap: the only costs are hosting (minimal), typesetting, and marketing (which can largely be carried out on the basis of word-of-mouth networks that already exist within academic disciplines). A perfect case study is provided by the eLanguage programme, a digital publishing platform for academic journals in my own field, linguistics. Hosting here is funded by a learned society, the Linguistic Society of America, leaving journals to meet the costs of typesetting, which in many cases can be carried out on a voluntary basis (just like the more arduous task of peer review).

Faced with this type of business model, the arguments against OA evaporate. The funds provided by the Research Councils for the purposes of paying APCs can, and should, be re-purposed to directly fund the operation of a new generation of free-to-view, free-to-publish academic journals. All that is standing in the way of this position is an attachment on the part of policy-makers to the role of traditional publishing companies – an attachment which can, and should, be questioned. And it’s hard to imagine a position more consistent with OA than that of the Pirate Party, with its focus on “the sharing of knowledge, ideas and culture” (as stated in the manifesto) and its commitment to the provision of infrastructure for this. Academic OA and the Pirate Party are a match made in heaven; it’s an arena in which much has already been achieved, but in which a truly optimal system is yet to emerge. I personally would love to see the Party in the driving seat of this kind of change.”