This was no doubt fun to do.

Whether it will really lead to a good result is perhaps a bit less clear. Still, if you don’t try, you definitely won’t succeed. You can find the White Paper Mr Humphreys alludes to here. They solicit comment, so go ahead.

For my part I can’t see past the problem of inertia in the academic process. In some ways it would be great if all monographs could be accessed using tools like the JSTOR Topicgraph, but until e-books are acceptable in tenure decisions, there’s going to remain a bias in favor of the printed book. The White Paper alludes to this as a problem, and of course it’s not this group’s problem to solve, so unsurprisingly they offer no solution. However I cannot really imagine that we will not eventually get to that goal. Another inertia problem is the varying openness of publishers to having their books shared in what is aiming at being a gigantic interoperative database of academic work. DRM inhibits the sorts of sharing which are so basic to the initiative. Can publishers overcome their need to generate funds to support their individual businesses, and figure out a way to share all, or are we doomed to keep on regretting the tragedy of the commons?

Advertisements