Autosubversive practices in academic publishing

Martin Paul Eve
University of Sussex

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In the contemporary publish-or-perish culture, very few academics query the mechanisms through which their work is distributed. At the same time, academic libraries and publishers are playing a dangerous power game in which each threatens the existence of the other in their own bid to stay afloat. What is not commonly recognised is the selfdestructive elements brought to the table by these parties. This paper examines the autosubversive behaviour of each of these actors through a metaphorical parallel with the zombie in computer science: the term for an infected machine inside a network of such devices all working against their original purpose. Having examined the constraints, motivations and power-relations brought to bear from library budgets, open access and an audit culture/currency of reputation, the conclusion presents several viable alternatives to cleanse the academic publishing network of its zombie constituents.

MARTIN PAUL EVE is an associate lecturer in English Literature at the University of Sussex. He is just finishing his PhD and has published widely on American fiction while also speaking and writing on Open Access. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Textual Practice, Literature and History, C21 journal, Rupkatha, Pynchon Notes and The Guardian. He has two book chapters on Thomas Pynchon forthcoming from KUL and Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, and a chapter on Open Access forthcoming from Intellect Press. In addition, he is the founding editor of Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon, a new Open Access journal of Pynchon scholarship launching in May 2012, and until 2011 he was the chief editor of the OA postgraduate journal, Excursions, at Sussex. Finally, he is a certified computer programmer in C# and the .NET Framework.