The other day I was talking with a group of people who are in one way or another associated with academia, more specifically humanities. I was making the case that given the change in the way that information is archived, stored, and transmitted, academic publishing will change. Indeed, more importantly I was suggesting a position that asks us to think about the ethics of such a necessary change. At any rate rather than state my reasons, or repeat what others have said, I have something much better to offer, or at least a place to point to.
I have talked about Media Commons here before. Media Commons is a project of The Future of the Book. Media Commons is experimenting with, thinking about, and trying to build a space for academics on the web to share and develop ideas. The project is focused around Media (hence the name) but there is much to like here. The place I want to point to though is of use to anyone who is in academia and concerned about the issues of publication and knowledge dissemination in the age of the digital and the internet. Check out Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Scholarly Publishing in the Age of the Internet. Kathleen has written a thoughtful paper, which stakes out important ground in this discussion. More importantly though is perhaps that the paper embodies the structure it talks about. That is you can read the paper, and comment (registration required—Kathleen discusses why in the paper). Thus, a discussion is developing here out of Kathleen’s work. This takes longer then usual reading on the internet, it is not a blog post, or a short article. But it is worth setting aside some time and reading through.