In a recent post on Slaw, our colleague Ruth Bird, Bodleian Law Librarian, refers to an article in The Guardian – “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” – by George Monbiot. Mr Monbiot recommends that “governments should refer the academic publishers to their competition watchdogs, and insist that all papers arising from publicly funded research are placed in a free public database“, and concludes, “The knowledge monopoly is as unwarranted and anachronistic as the corn laws. Let’s throw off these parasitic overlords and liberate the research that belongs to us.”
The library and law librarians of Osgoode Hall Law School have always supported free access to law and open access in scholarly publishing, most recently in the Calgary Statement on Free Access to Legal Information. We promote Open Access at every opportunity both in the law school and in the University. Regrettably, it is unlikely that any of our governments will follow up on Mr Monbiot’s recommendations and investigate contemporary academic publishing practices.