July 16, 2018 | By Joseph Esposito
In recent years there has been a growing clamor for the academy to take back control of scholarly publishing. The academy has been poorly served by the large commercial publishers, this argument goes, whose interests are narrowly economic and fail to address the mission of the research community. Often this argument takes on a distinct anti-capitalist flavor, as though the place to start world revolution is not with the industries with real power (energy, telecommunications, defense) but with the tiny business of publishing, which facilitates the communications of a small group of people with one another. It’s possible, though, to sidestep the question of whether Wiley, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and their ilk have performed well or poorly as far as the interests of the academy are concerned and ask a different one: Whatever the merits of Elsevier, ProQuest, EBSCO, et al., what’s stopping academic institutions from taking charge once again?