The opening paragraph of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which makes a case for Open Access in terms of the public good, reads:
An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds. Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.
The panelists in this session will explore issues in the future of publishing academic work from the standpoint of Open Access (OA), that is, free and unrestricted access by all to the results of academic research. A variety of perspectives are offered by the panel: editors of successful OA journals in Linguistics (Kai von Fintel, Lindsay Whaley), university librarians whose efforts are focussed on OA (Ellen Duranceau, Vika Zafrin), institutional directors of scholarly communication (Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Stuart Shieber), the Executive Director of the LSA (Alyson Reed), and a co-organizer of the session (Eric Bakovic). Panel presentations will be followed by panel and open audience discussion.
OA is one of the current options for academic publishing, but the question of how to support and sustain it remains largely unsettled, and what its effects might be on publishing and on how research is conducted in the future remains equally unclear. As the LSA and the MLA are both engaged and engaging with OA, this session aims to serve to both educate and explore the nature of OA in order to generate informed discussion and, as a result, more effective organizational decision making.
The current efforts by the LSA Executive Committee to move towards an increased presence in the world of electronic publishing, the "new technology" that enables OA, makes this session particularly timely and valuable to the LSA membership. Our panelists present various facets of a complicated but exceedingly important issue that touches all of us as professionals and as members of a broader academic community.