Open Access and Symbolic Gift Giving

Open Divide: Critical Studies on Open AccessThe anthology „Open Divide? Critical Studies on Open Access“ will be officially published on April 1, but can already be ordered now, e.g. via Amazon.

Therefore I published my contribution to Open Divide online today: Open Access and Symbolic Gift Giving.

The abstract to my piece is:  „Open access has changed. At the beginning of the millennium, it was portrayed in a romanticizing way and was embedded in a conceptual ensemble of participation, democratization, digital commons and equality. Nowadays, open access seems to be exclusive: to the extent that commercial players have discovered it as a business model and article fees have become a defining feature of gold open access, open access has increasingly transformed into a distinguishing feature and an exclusive element. Scientists are beginning to make the choice of a university or research institution as an employer based on whether or not they can afford to cover the article fees for publications in high-impact but high-priced journals. Surprisingly, this transformation of open access is not the subject of any noteworthy discussion in specialist or journalistic publications, but instead the ideals of the digital commons of knowledge still prevail in these venues. Even so open access is increasingly becoming an instrument that creates exclusivity, exclusion, distinction and prestige. These functions, however, are obscured by symbolic gift giving strategies and presented as altruistically staged, so that in the discourse of the open access community and in media reporting on open access, the both euphemistic and largely obsolete prosocial story-telling of open access dominates. The paper also discusses the question of whether the concept of open access was not overstrained by the hopes placed in it.“

The list of all articles in the anthology with links to texts available as Open Access publications can be found here.

Here is the bibliographic information on Open Divide:
Open Divide? Critical Studies on Open Access
Editors: Joachim Schöpfel and Ulrich Herb
Price: $35.00
Expected: April 2018
Publisher: Litwin Books
ISBN: 978-1-63400-029-1

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