The Cost of Knowledge: Open Sourcing and the ‘Academic Spring’

James Appleton | | May 7, 2012

Academic publishing in the UK has conventionally been channelled through by a small number of companies who maintain high fees for journal subscriptions. But as open source software continues to provide high quality free alternatives for autodidacts and beyond, the lifespan of this model is increasingly being called into question. The ‘Academic Spring’ is gathering momentum but what does this mean for the future of the peer-review system?

When we imagine a community of amateur computer programmers, the stereotypes are normally unfair and not often pretty. Whatever you think of their ‘political’ motives, groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec have helped to reinforce the image of self-important sociopaths who see themselves as above the law. The truth is that they often are – our media and law enforcement bodies are woefully behind the curve when it comes to computer technology, and those in the know take full advantage of their rare skills. Yet among this much maligned group are people whose example could lead to a revolution in the way we think about the sharing of knowledge...