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November 25, 2008

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I no longer have access to an academic library. A couple of months ago I read a work on Bakhtin. I wanted to find out what the critical reaction to it was. Every Google search result I found that looked promising -- from major newspapers to specialized academic journals to large Humanities database -- required a subscription. These were just reviews for the most part of a book that was published in 1999.

There was no way I was going to pay to read those reviews. Not under any current model -- most of them did not have options for purchasing a single article (although again, these were just reviews). I'm interested in Bakhtin -- not in the rest of the content they have to offer.

And even at my old job where I had access to an academic library, there would have been no guarantee that they would have had *all* the subscriptions I would have need to access those reviews.

I'm not sure what the solution is. But I don't think the current model is sustainable nor am I convinced that it always serves the best interests of scholarship.

Gideon, intriquing post and deeply appreciated.

"However, the root problem is the centuries-old academic publishing model that insists upon restricted access to scholarship."

Evidently, some see this model as a necessary prop for their realms of influence. A tiny kingdom, indeed.

I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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