Open Access och bättre vetenskap

Idag nåddes jag av det glädjande beskedet att Resistance Studies Magazine har kvalificerat sig som medlem i Directory of Open Access Journals.

Akademisk kunskap mår bäst av att vara fri och tillgänlig för alla, och varje akademiker bör då och då fundera på hur hans eller hennes publiceringssträvanden kan gå hand i hand med open accessvärlden, som en gång för alla kan driva ut de Gutenbergsreaktionära förlagen ur den rena kunskapsproduktionen.

Som en hyllning till den fria kunskapen återpublicerar jag en editorialspalt som jag skrev i andra numret av RSM, som tack vare open access kan kopieras fritt:

Emerging Research Fields, Networks, and Mertonian Norms
by Christopher Kullenberg & Jakob Lehne

In 1942 Robert K. Merton writes the essay “The Normative Structure of Science”, where he argues that there are functional imperatives which must be put to work in order to arrive at purely scientific results. These institutional imperatives were summarised in the later to be famous CUDOS model, consisting of “Communism/communalism”, “Universalism”, “Disinterestedness”, and “Organised Scepticism”. They were directed explicitly to the expulsion of Jewish scientists in Nazi Germany, and could also be said to be in defence of the enlightenment tradition and a liberal social order at the time it was written. However, in the late 1960s Merton was heavily criticised from various directions. For example, the notion of disinterestedness was said to be unrealistic since social and individual interests were actually what made scientific facts to appear at all. Also the neutrality of organised scepticism, which is similar to Karl Popper’s falsification model, has been challenged by authors claiming that scientific data are always theory-laden, and that we make choices as social collectives in deciding in what direction to proceed in research. How would then the Mertonian ethos of science relate to Resistance Studies? Well, Merton was, in a way, somebody who resisted a dominant power structure within academia himself. The Nazi ideology excluded Jewish scientists, and by arguing in favour of a certain ethos he tried to challenge this destructive conception of race and society. But there is also a practical dimension to why it is relevant to talk about Merton today. The peer review model that we also use for this journal is very much a product of the proposed combination of universalism and communalism imperatives. Universalism, the pre-established impersonal criteria, is to be found in the practice of always treating articles that are submitted in an anonymous fashion. Neither the reviewer, nor the author, know exactly who is at work in the process, and this is applied to prevent bias in gender, nationality or official academic degree. Moreover, the communalism principle, where scientific knowledge is treated as a common good accessible to (almost) anyone, echoes in the open access model of publication, which the Resistance Studies Magazine has chosen. Any findings or reflections should be possible for anybody to seek inspiration in or criticise, and should not be kept restricted to those who can afford subscription through large publishing houses. It is always important to reflect upon the ideals of academic work and its relations to the public(s). However, it is even more exciting to deal with the practicalities of editorial work. Since the readership of electronically distributed magazine does not have any upper limit, nor is it possible to know who is going to read it, there is a large amount of randomness. Since the first issue came out in January, the response has been very positive, both in terms of comments from inside and outside of academia, also in having twice as many submissions for this second issue. This time we are publishing five articles and one article review, thus connecting to a potentially wide audience. This second issue of the Resistance Studies Magazine will contain a variety of approaches, which ought to be relevant for anyone interested in the complex phenomenon of resistance practices. The editorial work has been a challenge this time as well, partly because the submissions doubled. Producing this magazine with a zero- budget requires the ambition of dedicated people, and those are to be found in the editorial board, amongst the authors and within the Resistance Studies Network. As editors we would like to give special thanks to Wei Liu, who did some amazing emergency review work with the shortest notice possible, and Ingrid Ekenberg, who volunteered to help us out the days before publication.

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