PhilPapers moves to subscription model

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

PhilPapers is an international, interactive academic database of journal articles for professionals and students in philosophy.  It is maintained as a combined project of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.   PhilPapers receives financial support from other organizations, including a substantial grant in early 2009 from the Joint Information Systems Committee in the United Kingdom. The archive is praised for its comprehensiveness and organization, and for its regular updates. In addition to archiving papers, the editors engage in surveying academic philosophers. (Description from Wikipedia)

From July 2014 PhilPapers requires that research and teaching institutions offering a BA or higher degree in philosophy subscribe to PhilPapers in order to have the right of access to its index.  Previously the site had been completely free to access and was built on contributions from volunteers – who may not now be able to access their own work (although the site remains open to individual users).

In 5 years PhilPapers was built by the work of 1000s of volunteers. They are being rewarded by being hit for sub fees

— Downes (@Downes) April 14, 2014

The financial case for the change can be found here.  The move away from openness here can alternatively be read as a move towards sustainability (and institutional libraries will be able to interact more effectively with the data), but without open licensing of intellectual property there is nothing to stop this content being made subscription only in the long run.

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