Is university research being held captive by morally suspect for-profit academic publishers charging exorbitant prices for journal subscriptions? Since the start of 2012, this caricature of academic publishing has captured headlines within higher education news. In February, academics boycotted publishing giant Elsevier in protest of its support of the Research Works Act, which would have prevented federal agencies from requiring that their funded research be made publicly available. Similarly, the Harvard library published an open memo to its faculty, urging its faculty to publish in open access journals as it could no longer afford to pay for expensive journal subscriptions.
But is there any truth to this dramatic portrayal of positions between publishers, academics and libraries, where publishers are painted as capitalist drones, and libraries and academics are champions of the moral good of open access? In this interview, I discuss the issue of open access among others with Patrick Alexander (@publisher2b), director of the Pennsylvania State University Press.