[Air-L] Antw: Re: The connection between "alienated labor" and "whether to name reviewers"

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at uti.at
Wed Sep 11 11:39:32 PDT 2013

The topic of free labour in academic work is interesting and an 
important one.

For me the issue really is that publishing corporations derive profits 
from a) commodifying academic knowledge and b) using the labour of 
reviewers, editorial boards, editors etc that are to a specific degree 
not paid by the companies that derive these profits.

Open access is a step forward, but one should bear in mind that there 
are different open access models, some of them introducing author fees 
and being run by commercial companies that make monetary profits. So 
open access does not equal "non-commercial" and non-profit. And a lot of 
the commercial open access models are predatory, see:

We need to differentiate between different models of open access, there 
are good ones and bad ones.

What needs to get more attention besides OA journals are open access 
book publishers.

There are many arguments for why non-commercial non-profit open access 
journal publishing is the best model available. I have together with a 
colleague made this argument recently here:

And concerning academic politics and policies, I think we need urgent 
change so that
a) all public research funding is based on the condition that it is 
published in non-commercial OAJs only,
b) public funding is introduced for non-commercial OAJs (e.g. in the 
form of open access councils, to which non-commercial OA publishers and 
journals can apply for funding) and
c) all senior academics should c1) stop publishing in commercial 
journals and publish in non-commercial OAJs only, c2) consider stop 
being editors and editorial board members and reviewers for commercial 
journals or reduce their engagement step by step as far as possible and 
c3) provide support for non-commercial OAJs.
d) the role of (Social) Sciences Citation Index in research evaluations, 
tenure reviews etc is dismantled and substituted by publications in 
journals listed in the DOAJ

The viable future of academic publishing is in my view what I like to 
term the "diamond model of open access" - it is not about open access in 
general because as anything in capitalism also open access can be 
commodified (and has already been) - it is about using open access as a 
means for decommodifying academic knowledge, which requires 
non-commercial academic publishing and an alternative model.

Persons having provocative thoughts on these issues or being involved in 
non-commercial open access publishing themselves, are welcome to 
contribute thought-pieces to this debate section on open access:

Best, Christian

On 11/09/2013 19:07, Alan Bilansky wrote:
> Sam,
> Aside form demanding money, as a way to address alienation in academic
> labor, I would first advocate only reviewing for publications with open
> access policies.  (Currently I don't have the bargaining power to make
> either demand. . . .)
> Best,
> Alan
> On Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 8:46 AM, Johann Hoechtl <
> Johann.Hoechtl at donau-uni.ac.at> wrote:
>>>>> Sam Lehman-wilzig <Sam.Lehman-Wilzig at biu.ac.il> schrieb am 11.09.2013
>> um 14:28
>> in Nachricht <12CC0190-5EE2-41B7-BB59-F30F1D1A6004 at biu.ac.il>:
>>> Hi all:
>>> I find interesting that no one seems to realize that the two seemingly
>>> "unrelated" topics we are discussing (see below) are actually the same
>> issue!
>>> If there is performing "alienated labor" it is academic referees of
>> articles,
>>> editors of journals, etc -- who are not compensated for their work! Why
>>> shouldn't an academic, COMMERCIAL journal (one that demands payment from
>>> subscribers -- institutional and individual), PAY article reviewers, the
>>> journal editors etc for their reviews? If they did that, then the
>> reviewers
>>> would feel a lot more obligated to devote serious attention to their
>>> refereeing review. In my opinion, paying for article review (even if it's
>>> $100 or so per article) would solve most of the problems mentioned here
>>> regarding unprofessional (or no-show) reviewers -- and perhaps also
>> sensitizing
>>> them a bit more to the whole issue of "alienated labor" in other spheres.
>>> Sam
>> I am sceptical concerning your reasoning.
>> 1. Money, as a hygiene factor, will not rise quality of reviews for a long
>> time and can even have adverse effects (cf.
>> http://thefilter.blogs.com/thefilter/2009/12/the-israeli-childcare-experiment.html
>> );
>> 2. Now we need someone verifying the work of reviewers (as money will have
>> to be paid upon successfull completion of work), thus quality control for
>> quality control; and
>> 3. as reviewers will have to be paid, publishers have another argument to
>> raise prices from 100$ to 120$.  Disclosure: I believe in Open Science
>> Thus I see the relation between these two topics, yet they call for a
>> different solution.
>> Johann
>>> Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig
>>> Deputy Director
>>> School of Communication
>>> Bar-Ilan University
>>> 52900 Ramat Gan
>>> (office) +972-3-5317651
>>> (office secretary) +972-3-5317060
>>> (cell) +972-52-3410163
>>> (fax) +972-9-9744441
>>> Sam.Lehman-Wilzig at biu.ac.il<mailto:Sam.Lehman-Wilzig at biu.ac.il>
>>> website: www.ProfSLW.com
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