Allow me some elitism related rant for a second

You know how people complain that Academia (the institution, not necessarily the individual members) is part of the “ivory tower” complex, detached from the realities of society, etc? I do not necessarily agree with that, however, I just had a “shaking fist” moment at my screen.

Someone on Twitter posted a link to a text: Femininity and Feminism: Chinese and Contemporary [A Special Issue of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy]. I clicked, excited, at the prospect of reading it. Well… no. As is always the case with these kinds of journals, one needs “Institutional Access” to get to the text. Now, I am fully aware of copyright issues, funding, etc. However, we have tons of access to pop culture material (magazines, newspapers, etc), but any serious academic study requires the filter of further academic credentials to access it.

If this had been the first time that it happened to me, I wouldn’t probably notice, but it is a pattern: academic knowledge is kept within the confines of academia. And sure enough, I know people with institutional access whom I could ask to get the text for me, etc. But that’s not the point. The issue is that by keeping these texts behind a virtual academic wall, people who have no ties to academia (activists, grass roots organizers who could benefit from perspectives, etc.), are also shut down from this knowledge. Coincidentally, the people discussed in this journal (i.e. Chinese Feminists living in China) will not be able to read what is said about them because they will also lack an institutional login to access the text.

As usual, I do not have solutions, but I do certainly see a problem with this, especially because a lot of this research is funded with public moneys (at least that is the case with much of what is done in European institutions).

  1. motheatenmusicalbrocade reblogged this from newwavefeminism
  2. muralgirl reblogged this from redlightpolitics and added:
    I think part of the problem is that these journals are expensive to publish, and the only way they can really get any...
  3. athenasaurus reblogged this from aka14kgold and added:
    This is something I’ve been struggling with at grad school. I’ve been taking a political ethnography class, in which...
  4. aka14kgold reblogged this from redlightpolitics
  5. cherishedsaulie reblogged this from redlightpolitics
  6. chauvinistsushi reblogged this from newwavefeminism
  7. poop-fart-princess reblogged this from newwavefeminism and added:
    If you collect and re-distribute articles couldn’t that be a legality issue? I mean, the publishers/current distributors...
  8. sammysayalot reblogged this from newwavefeminism and added:
    This is why I like open access journals, because they are way more accessible.
  9. jonathanmolinagarcia reblogged this from newwavefeminism and added:
    This is so true. And it’s really frustrating when I go online to look for scholarly research and find that even if I am...
  10. jinxasaurus reblogged this from newwavefeminism and added:
    This is why I just, y’know, happen to keep a backup of every article that I could have used in any essay. You know, just...
  11. rosainverno reblogged this from newwavefeminism and added:
    As someone in the Information Sciences, information access is a -huge- issue for me. In fact, it is partly -the- reason...
  12. newwavefeminism reblogged this from redlightpolitics and added:
    Yeah, this angers me as well, more so in high school. I did speech & debate and it required a LOT of evidence, so you...
  13. motivatedslacker said: Sometimes large public libraries have access to these types of journals as well. I know that’s the case with NYPL, but I don’t know about other cities and countries. If they don’t have access, you may be able to request it through interlibrary loan.
  14. trollnexus reblogged this from mmattie
  15. mmattie reblogged this from redlightpolitics and added:
    I hate not being able to access academic journals. Being 15, and having very little money, this is an extremely...