Wednesday, September 07, 2011

From reality to rhetoric

It's been some years since I last spoke with JSTOR's Bruce Heterick. Today from him I learned of a kind of change in JSTOR's degree of openness, or closure:

JSTOR–Free Access to Early Journal Content and Serving “Unaffiliated” Users

Nearly 500,000 articles in more than 200 journals are now freely available on JSTOR

The press release from JSTOR's Laura Brown begins:
I am writing to share exciting news: today, we are making journal content on JSTOR published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere, freely available to the public for reading and downloading. This includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals, representing approximately 6% of the total content on JSTOR.
The release goes on to spell out details of this alteration and goes out of its way to say that the indictment of Aaron Swartz could have affected the timing and substance of this step, but ultimately did not.

Mr. Heterick concluded his brief email with:
I’m not a big fan of your rhetoric, but in your work as an independent scholar, I thought you’d find this beneficial.


I'm not a fan of JSTOR's reality, but such as it is, this is a small step toward acknowledging the factual truth of my argument. Human knowledge, gleaned by humans in taxpayer-funded institutions of higher learning, could even now be freely available in toto to all who seek it. Unfortunately, the desires of craven academic publishing houses to continue to subsist in antiquated form, coupled with the highly lucrative artificial scarcification of academic data thanks to the walled garden stratagem of JSTOR and its imitators, continue to transform this potential reality into a chimaera.

This transformation is the real rhetoric, in all its material voracity. Except that this can now be qualified as, "material voracity after 1922."

Thanks for the update.


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Anonymous Jon Husband said...

How nice of him to acknowledge your concern and offer you some support.

9/09/2011 3:37 PM  
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