When I was attending the University of West Indies as part overseas institutional visit for my PhD I was struck by the lack of journals subscriptions the institution had. Of course, this has a lot to do with the limited funds available. It was one of those experiences that allowed me to realise how rich a lot of North American and Western European universities are.
However, I felt the larger point was the form of censorship and exclusion money plays in academia. Money = knowledge, and if you don't have money then no knowledge! all is not lost though; why is the capabilities of the Internet not used?
Take the example of introduction books for disciplines, whose twofold purpose is to introduce the discipline and (hopefully) serve as a nice little money earner. I am sure lecturers at universities could produced various chapters and publish them on a joint website. Why could there not be, for example, a website dedicated to 'introductions to International Relations: Main theories and Concepts'. I don't think it would suffer in quality if it did not go through the traditional flows of publishing as academics could review each other. There could also be a discussion forum for both students and academics (and even the non-academic world).
There also needs to be a lot more free quality online journals that do not have subscriptions. From my reading I concentrate more on 'The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies' and 'The International Journal of Zizek Studies'. Both of these are free to access and peer reviewed. Why do we need the press machines (Blackwell; Routledge; Macmillan...) to flow information in the age of the web? Could academics not use the web more productively to free the interconnections of knowledge/information and capital(ism)?
I know this probably sounds Utopian, but I do feel traditional modes of publishing are too ingrained in academia. Maybe this, in the UK, has something to do with how the RAE rate/judge academics.
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