Sunday, February 20, 2011

Open Access Philosophy

This is an interesting movement, any ideas?

"Why are there still hard copy philosophical journals and books?  Why is so much on-line philosophy hidden behind subscription walls?  Why are universities, students and researchers being forced to pay for access to information authors would happily give away for free?"

The Open Access Philosophy Pledge
  1. I will make my academic writings available for viewing without charge on my personal website. I will do so before, or at least at the same time as, I (would) submit them to hard-copy journals.
  2. I will not submit my academic writings to journals whose policies prevent me from continuing to make them available, free of charge, on my own web site .
  3. I will endeavor to make copies of all my previously published academic writings freely available for on-line viewing.  I will encourage journals in which my work has appeared to make their archives of past issues open for general viewing without charge.
  4. When I am asked to judge the quality of scholarly work for any purpose, including hiring, promotion and tenure, I will not assume that fee-charging publication is always superior to open access publication. 
  5. I will encourage and participate in the evolution of new practices and mechanisms for objective peer review and evaluation in an open access environment.
  6. The format of academic books and journal articles is, in part, a function of the requirements of hard copy publication.  On-line publication will make possible new forms and structures of expression.  Realizing this, I will not assume that excellent work must take traditional forms.
  7. I will encourage my colleagues and my department as a whole to take this pledge.  I will endeavor to have the standards proposed by this pledge explicitly incorporated into my department’s and my institution’s policies on hiring, promotion, tenure, and merit.

    More information: 


  1. It seems that hard copies will always be around but having online copies available for free would be a great help to students and departments.

  2. For philosophers/students affiliated with a university, open-source publications become slightly less important given that most institutions provide access to published journals. However, this access varies from one institution to the next and does not provide access to papers or other writings which do not go to publication. Additionally, for philosophers/students not affiliated with an institution, access to journals presents a large financial burden.

  3. I started experimenting with open source scholarship last year, publishing all my papers on my personal blog ( The experience has proved really beneficial so far. First, since I know that my work we be visible to other people, I put more effort into my school assignments. Second, I have received valuable criticism on my work, gaining exposure to a peer-review process which I would not otherwise have access to. I have also encouraged other students to make their writings publicly available but most students have expressed great hesitancy or discomfort about the idea. They either are uncomfortable with other people reading their writing and/or with posting their writing on the internet. While I understand such discomfort, for people intending to pursue philosophical work, such fears seem undesirable, given the importance of publishing to the field. As more people begin to make their work available, the discomfort should decrease. It would be really useful to have a database or aggregate of open-source philosophical work. Such a device would allow inter-institution collaboration (which is particularly lacking at the undergraduate level) and also provide interested parties a much greater exposure to ongoing philosophical work. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great comment Pataphyz.
    When I was at the university it could still be frustrating. Although UCSC fully subscribed to quite a few philosophy Journals, many would not list their articles online. I cant tell you how frustrating it is to finally find a decent article on some obscure topic, only to realize that the journal doesn't publish articles online, only their abstracts.
    Also as far as 'marketing' goes, it wouldn't hurt to have your work available from several places.

  5. Have you done any public scholarship? I started experimenting with it last year, publishing my papers for class and otherwise on my person blog ( It's been really beneficial, primarily in two ways. First, because I know that my papers will (possibly) be seen by other people, I tend to produce better quality for my classes. Second, because my papers are seen by others (at least a few others...), I have received valuable criticism that provides the experience of peer review I would not have otherwise had access to. Another benefit that public scholarship could offer is the ability to extend discussions beyond a classroom, or beyond a particular physical location, leading to increased contributions and collaboration which, at least as I've experienced at the undergraduate level, is seriously lacking. If there were lots of people doing this, and a single place to locate these projects, that would be a phenomenal resource.

    However, I've experienced a lot of reluctance among my classmates when I propose this idea. Most people are uncomfortable making their writing visible to others, particularly on the interent. WHile I get that, I also think the hesitancy is basically something that should be overcome given the importance of publishing to the field. The benefits have the possibility to greatly outweigh the discomfort.

  6. huh. am not sure why show up now as communalproperty but previously showed up as pataphyz. :(