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Opening the Wrong Gate? The Academic Spring and Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences


In this paper, I explore the ways in which the 2012 Elsevier boycott and resultant call for open access scholarship known as the “academic spring” have been taken up by scholars in the humanities and social sciences. I begin by reviewing the current state of affairs with regards to publishing and the academy, explicating the movement’s reasons for demanding change. From this, I identify two moral principles which emerge from its critique, and then I show how implementing the recommendations which have been circulated as alternatives to the status quo do not necessarily support the academic spring’s foundational principles. I conclude by suggesting a possible alternative direction of productive action and sounding a final word of caution.

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Correspondence to Casey Brienza.

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Brienza, C. Opening the Wrong Gate? The Academic Spring and Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Pub Res Q 28, 159–171 (2012).

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  • Academic publishing
  • Elsevier boycott
  • Impact
  • Open access
  • Public scholarship