With respect to the issue of Open Access academic publishing, a new initiative is trying to create a credible alternative to the various systems being proposed by governments, research councils and publishers. Based on the Public Library of Science initiative (PLOS) the Open Library of the Humanities would be a publicly accessible, non-disciplinary archive of peer-reviewed humanities and social science material that will circumvent the conventional publishers and their obscene profits. Effectively it will mean a non-profit organization performing all the functions of the publisher for a much lower charge and making everything immediately available to the general public. If an author can’t pay the processing charge, then it is waived. Ultimately this would, assuming it worked, create a kind of ‘knowledge commons’ in conjunction with PLOS that could prevent the commodification of public research by private companies.
The organisers have issued a call for interested parties to get involved by offering expertise and experience to the fledgling organisation. Whilst I would have thought many academics would be interested in this, this might also benefit those from the wider arts communities looking for public places to lodge their written work.