Actually, I think that the question of who ought to count as a peer is THE question surrounding open access, as well as the introduction of impact criteria into the peer review of grant proposals. Both are signs of the growing demand for accountability on the part of the public. Researchers will no longer be given free reign to determine what counts as valuable research on their own (academic, disciplinary) terms.
Focusing on the business/consumer/producer angle of this distracts us from this fundamental point. If academics want to maintain a sense of autonomy, then they ought to own impact requirements. The point is not, however, simply to attempt to protect the Academy from “outside” interference. Instead, the point is the begin to find ways to respond to the demand for greater accountability in ways that also enrich the idea of academic autonomy. Open access could be part of that new sense of autonomy — but, paradoxically, perhaps, only if academics will take seriously their accountability to society. This means that those thinking about open access policy ought also to take seriously the question of who ought to count as a peer. Likewise, they should think about who the audience for research papers will be under the rubric of open access.
Categories: Higher Education