Reported in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education:
He seems genial, but John Willinsky is a dangerous man. As a leader in the development and spread of “open access” scholarly journals, which are published online and offered free, the Stanford University education professor is not just helping to transform academic publishing. He is also equipping scholars around the world with a tool to foment revolution. “This is a strong vehicle for academic freedom,” says Mr. Willinsky, whose Public Knowledge Project offers free journal-publishing software to academics. In a world where subscriptions to some medical journals can cost more than $10,000 a year, and many colleges in developing countries cannot afford more than a handful of scholarly publications, publishing enabled by this kind of tool is plugging many academics into research and discourse as never before. . . . The Directory of Open Access Journals, maintained by the Lund University Libraries, in Sweden, lists more than 4,700 open-access scientific and scholarly journals that passed a screening for quality based on their publishers’ assurances of peer review or editorial diligence. They cover the waterfront, with the sciences well-represented but other fields, such as history, linguistics, philosophy, and political science, each accounting for more than 100 publications.
The article “New Journals, Free Online, Let Scholars Speak Out” is available on line.