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Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism

Creativity and the Promise of Openness


Michael A. Peters

We live in the age of global science – but not, primarily, in the sense of ‘universal knowledge’ that has characterized the liberal metanarrative of ‘free’ science and the ‘free society’ since its early development in the Enlightenment. Today, an economic logic links science to national economic policy, while globalized multinational science dominates an environment where quality assurance replaces truth as the new regulative ideal. This book examines the nature of educational and science-based capitalism in its cybernetic, knowledge, algorithmic and bioinformational forms before turning to the emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness in the growth of international research collaboration, the development of the global knowledge commons and the rise of the open science economy. Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism explores the nature of cognitive capitalism, the emerging mode of social production for public education and science and its promise for the democratization of knowledge.
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Chapter Ten: ‘Openness’ and the Global Knowledge Commons: An Emerging Mode of Social Production for Education and Science


Chapter 10

This chapter documents the potential for the open access (OA) of knowledge, information and debate to create a new public space and culture that could underpin education, democracy and the economy. The implication of this discussion of OA is that it could release the knowledge, creativity and research to develop highly skilled productive economies to the benefit of the many rather than the few. However, the developments in OA, which are documented below need to be balanced against the possibilities that the same technologies that enable OA can be used to generate economic crises, arbitrage the cost of skilled labour and de-skill knowledge based jobs across the globe. We are at point in history where the liberating potential of OA is finely balanced against a set of opposing forces.

On February 14, 2008, Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that required faculty members to allow the university to make their scholarly articles available free online.1 The new policy made Harvard the first university in the United States to mandate open access to its faculty members’ research publications and marked the beginning of a new era that will encourage other U.S. universities and universities around the world to do the same. Open access means putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature on the internet, making it available free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, and removing the barriers to serious research. Open access has already transformed the world...

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