Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Italian thesis on OA

Claudio Marconi, Open Access e archivi aperti: nuove modalità di diffusione della letteratura scientifica, BA thesis, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione, 2008; self-archived March 16, 2009. English abstract:
Knowledge as primary good of modern society is a topic widely discussed, so that the latter is often defined in terms of the first as "information society". But what about its particular form which much of today well-being depends on: scientific knowledge? Scholar needs to publish. Academic careers depend on publishing and without scientific pubblications it would not be possible for those who decide to undertake research, build anything: "we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants". Scholar, however, soon learns that the traditional scientific publications, except for the text adopted as manuals, are by no means profitable. Equally, the resulting texts are not public but private. In the hands of the publishers they become subject to restrictive policies aimed at maximizing profit, not at dissemination, as any scholar would like. Libraries are forced to buy back for their users something their colleagues have produced without any expectation, except the broader circulation. A third party, the publisher, becomes the filter and a real obstacle to dissemination of scientific knowledge. The argument presented here is based on this paradox, in the belief that speech technology and markets affect the word itself, suggesting a review of recent developments which have affected the scientific communication system and discussing the movement for Open Access to scientific literature, whose goal is precisely the reconciliation between the cultural practices of scholars and the economy these practices are based on.