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(Re-)De-Commodification in Academic Knowledge Distribution?

Author / Editor:

Nentwich, Michael


This paper argues that the system of formal scholarly publication is entering its third phase of evolution. This phase has not yet taken full shape, but is characterised by a strong de-commodified core with only niches for commercial publishers - in contrast to phase II which was the age of increasing commodification. The main reasons for this development are economic, functional and ideational. The current economic crisis of academic publishing is driving academia to alternative models. From a functional perspective, the advent of E-publishing makes it possible that academica will take over most of what is currently done by the commercial publishers. Finally, the last decade has seen an increasing awareness of the research community that its products should not be treated as a commodity, but should instead be freely available to the whole community.


in: Science Studies, Vol. 14 (2001), No.2, 21-42



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