Journals@Classics-l: digital vs. print and open vs. not

G. Rendell's Friday piece at Inside Higher Ed (Journal Boxes) has touched off a couple of interesting threads at classics-l:

Unfortunately, the discussion has almost immediately got itself wrapped around an axle of conflation. Pacem the subject line, there are two axes of interest here, not one:
  1. Print vs. digital (delivery format)
  2. Open access vs. subscription-based services (licensing and distribution policy)
When these two axes get conflated, we immediately see (as here) a boiling over of the ire of non-affiliated scholars (and those affiliated with financially challenged institutions) who feel locked out of access to important (digital) journals they feel they'd be able to get access to if those journals were in print. This is often painted as a reason why journals should not "go digital" when in fact it's simply evidence of bad (or indifferent) decision making when it comes to publication models.

Proponents of open access should be at pains to point out this difference, lest their baby get thrown out with the bathwater. Editors of fee-and-subscription-based journals should be prepared to explain and revise their licensing and access policies to address the legitimate concerns of scholars in the long tail outside the wealthy-tier institutions.

Aside: it's irritating that the UKY listserv software breaks topic threads on a month transition. Somebody should complain.