Spring 2018 | CUNY Graduate Center | IDS 70100: Introduction to Queer Studies


OER and the Value of Labor (Francesca)

I’ve been thinking a lot about our discussion from last class about potential harm to the value of academic work if the author decides to publish an Open Access article, or with an OER platform, or more generally with the Creative Commons License. Even though everyone agreed that scholars do not benefit financially from publishing their articles, and risk lower visibility when their work is stuck behind a paywall, I wonder about the less conventional forms of scholarship that are not being produced from the academy-per se. Last night, Donna and I met up with a friend who produces their own zines. They submitted their work to the zine archive we looked at briefly with Elvis and noticed how there is usually a substantial delay between the submission and when the zine becomes public on the website, sometimes a few years, and speculated that this is likely to give the authors more of an opportunity to sell their work before it becomes available for free.

Considering only journal articles, and other traditional modes of publication from the academy, overlooks other work by people who may not be benefitting from a teaching salary, or be on a tenure track, who may want the opportunity to sell their work, at the very least to offset the cost of production. How does OER challenge the way we talk about the value of “intellectual labor” and the dynamics of charging money for access or redistribution etc.? How does OER ignore the needs of people who are less piped into an institution, or who have less financial security? Why is free/ zero-cost access necessarily an unquestioned merit? It seems that we have been focusing more on benefits to “the consumer,” in this case the student, or other scholars, than the producer of the work, and going forward, how can we take both parties into consideration with greater parity?

Leave a Reply