Four Ways Open Access Enhances Academic Freedom

Curt Rice | The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) | April 30, 2013

Curt Rice examines the tension between academic freedom and open access policies. Coercive requirements to publish in open access journals could restrict academic freedom and this must be monitored. But he finds that overall, open access policies strengthen academic freedom in many more ways, particularly through copyright, interference, citations, and archiving issues.

Are politicians stealing our academic freedom? Is their fetish with open access publishing leading to a “pay to say” system for the rich? Will the trendy goal of making publicly financed research freely available skew the world of scholarship even more in the direction of the natural sciences? I don’t think so. But it took me a while to get there.

The freedom to choose

Academic freedom lets scientists choose the research questions they want to ask. They can pursue their hypotheses however they like. Their results and reasoning can be discussed without any fear of reprisals from governments or universities. The frontiers of knowledge move forward without political interference or personal risk because of academic freedom.