Conservatives declare war on college –

Good insight from Andrew Leonard:

For many conservatives, the humanities departments of public universities are bastions of the “tenured left” busily brainwashing the young people of America into godless socialist postmodernism. They’d much rather for-profit corporations were in charge of the educational agenda than the current academic elite.

Conservatives declare war on college –

Uhm .. that’s the ‘non-tenure-track philosopher’ not the “tenured left,” conservatives. And it’s called ‘education’, not “brainwashing,” by the way. I also fail to see how killing the university is conservative — seems radical (oh, and of course, Neoliberal). ;-)

On a serious note, I am beginning to wonder about the political connection between Open Access and MOOCs.

There are some serious good things about Open Access, both from the perspective of the academic and from the perspective of the public. For one thing, I get my research ‘out there’ more easily. You’d be surprised how often even academics who have a subscription through their university will run up against a pay wall when off campus and never bother to go look for an article later. For the public, they get access to research they’ve paid for in one way or another.

But if everything went Open Access tomorrow, it would kill many scholarly publishers. My question is, what would that do to the universities?

That it was the Obama administration that today released an Open Access policy doesn’t really make me feel any more comfortable in my precarious university position. As far as I can tell, the so-called ‘liberals’ are as into Neoliberalism as the so-called ‘conservatives’.  The main difference is in terms of rhetoric. In general, the ‘liberals’ prefer a rhetoric of emancipation, while the ‘conservatives’ prefer a rhetoric of performativity. But each adopts the other’s rhetoric for political purposes (Obama making sure to chastise the universities for costing so much in his SOU Address, for instance; and the constant rhetoric from Republicans about ‘freedom’ from ‘Big Government’).

So, Open Access will not only allow the people to be free of paywalls (emancipation rhetoric), but also increase the efficiency of research (performativity rhetoric). Sounds suspiciously like a Neoliberal win-win to me.

I’m not for ‘closed’ access to publications; but I’m also not for going into Open Access without keeping a critical eye on how such policies will really affect the university.

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