How are Open Access and MOOCS disrupting the academic community in different ways?

Open Access, Megajournals, and MOOCs: On the Political Economy of Academic Unbundling

From SAGE Open

Supporters of open academic content have long touted its ability to widen the impact and productivity of scholarship while relieving cost pressures in academia. While the development of open access (OA) publishing and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been labeled a disruption to publishing and the academic community, this study finds that OA has a more tempered impact on scholarship while the impact of MOOCs on teaching is more severe.


The development of “open” academic content has been strongly embraced and promoted by many advocates, analysts, stakeholders, and reformers in the sector of higher education and academic publishing. The two most well-known developments are open access scholarly publishing and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), each of which are connected to disruptive innovations enabled by new technologies. Support for these new modes of exchanging knowledge is linked to the expectation that they will promote a number of public interest benefits, including widening the impact, productivity, and format of academic work; reforming higher education and scholarly publishing markets; and relieving some of the cost pressures in academia. This article examines the rapid emergence of policy initiatives in the United Kingdom and the United States to promote open content and to bring about a new relationship between the market and the academic commons. In doing so, I examine controversial forms of academic unbundling such as open access megajournals and MOOCs and place each in the context of the heightened emphasis on productivity and impact in new regulatory regimes in the area of higher education.


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Article details

Richard Wellen
Open Access, Megajournals, and MOOCs: On the Political Economy of Academic Unbundling SAGE Open October-December 2013 3: 2158244013507271, first published on October 23, 2013 doi:10.1177/2158244013507271






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