The readings and VoiceThread from last week left me appalled at the very least. First, I was unaware of the costs of journal access. For example, for over 15 disciplines, the average journal cost is over $1,000/year and in the chemistry discipline particularly, the average journal cost is $4,227. It’s especially important to emphasize that these are the average costs and therefore, much higher prices exist. Knowing that ZSR subscribes to these journals was surprising as I was unaware of the tremendous amount of scholarly access I have just as a student here.
In April Hathcock’s discussion, “Racing to the Crossroads of Scholarly Communication: But Who Are We Leaving Behind?”, she acknowledges the development in scholarly research, such as the cross-institutional work taking place. While these developments are significant, she also notes the intersection between access and public good/social responsibility and questions the notion that if the public doesn’t have access to resources and knowledge, how can we say we’re pursuing the “public good”? From this, she presents the idea of a crossroad, where everyone (and not just affiliates of higher institutions) has equitable opportunities to meet at an intersection and engage in intellectual freedom. This is an important aspect to recognize as it illustrates the idea that without access to knowledge, intellectual freedom is only granted to those with this immense scholarly privilege.
I am perplexed that I am now a senior in college and have just now been made aware of these alarming issues. From this, I’m now more aware of the immense responsibility we have as affiliates of an institution of higher learning. While one concrete answer to this question may be unattainable, it’s crucial to recognize the cycle in which scholarship is created and accessed. As students here at Wake Forest, using our privilege to share our knowledge with those who don’t have access could be a step in the right direction.