In the latest issue of First Monday Brian Whitworth and Rob Friedman deliver a powerful critique of the current academic publishing system:
This final vision of journals as exclusive and isolated castles of specialist knowledge, manned by editor–sovereigns and reviewer–barons, raising the barricade of rigor against a mass assault by peasant–authors seeking tenure knighthoods, is not inspiring. In feudalism an elite few manage the valued resources. When the resource is knowledge “truth” becomes what its self–appointed guardians say it is, and innovation is rejected along with error. Is not “Let them publish elsewhere” the knowledge equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”? A system where the few choose what is best for the many to read cannot be sustained as in the end people must choose for themselves.