Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Disseminating Knowledge Broadly--New Offerings From the Digital Commons Network

I have written about the way in which the efforts of the last decade to financially exploit the dissemination of knowledge has produced an increasingly class based system of knowledge dissemination in which the rich or well funded have access to knowledge denied to poorer individuals and institutions.  (E.g.,Open Access at Penn State: Scholarsphere (Dec., 14, 2012);   Between Scholar and University--Sharing Knowledge, Protecting Revenue and Control--Is the UCSF Approach Worth Considering (May 28, 2012); Opening Access: Course Proposals Archive at Penn State (June 1, 2012); Digital Humanities From the CIC (Oct. 6, 2012).

As a result, academics and academic institutions in developed states, and the wealthy elites in developing states have access to knowledge production denied to poorer individuals and institutions.  Publishers (but generally not the producers of knowledge) profit from this new market regime, and the perpetuation of systems of academic prestige based on publication through these knowledge exploiting and restricting enterprises compounds and deepens the effect, while hiding its financial objectives.Efforts by some publishers to permit the free circulation of older work is to be lauded as a nod in the right direction, but the pricing structures of new knowledge and the unwillingness, especially of certain market dominant publishers to contribute remains troubling.

It is in this environment that efforts like those of the Digitial Commons Network ought to be hailed and supported.  From their website: "The Digital Commons Network brings together free, full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide. Curated by university librarians and their supporting institutions, the Network includes a growing collection of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work." 

This post includes the latest efforts of that Network to spread knowledge freely. Additions are made frequently HERE. Visit often.

Digital Commons Network™:


Administrative Law

Antitrust and Trade Regulation

Constitutional Law

Consumer Protection Law

Education Law

Environmental Law

Health Law

Human Rights Law

International Law


Labor and Employment Law

Law and Economics

Law and Society

Social Welfare Law

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