Citation

Beyond Academic Rentiership: Why Academic Knowledge is Not Naturally a Public Good But Needs to Be Made One

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Abstract:

Academics (and others) take for granted that knowledge is a public good, and because academics are normally seen as the primary knowledge producers in society, they are seen as by definition producers of public goods. However, this syllogism leaves a lot to be desired. In particular, it ignores the role of academic rentiership, which is captured in the high entry and access costs associated with the production and distribution of academic knowledge. These are in turn tied to a strongly path dependent epistemic sensibility that privileges (certainly in writing practices) ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ over finding the shortest route to the top. I shall argue that while academics certainly do produce knowledge, the privileging of ‘research’ over ‘teaching’ in the academy effectively means that we produce knowledge as a club good, not a public good. I shall explore the consequences of this claim, including the prospect that we might need a version of a ‘cultural revolution’ within the academy that actively removes the access costs to knowledge which are largely imposed by a journal-driven culture which rewards relevance to a self-defined ‘cutting edge’ of research over the general public.

Author's Keywords:

academic knowledge, rent, public good, club good
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Association:
Name: 4S Annual Meeting
URL:
http://www.4sonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1272686_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Fuller, Steve. "Beyond Academic Rentiership: Why Academic Knowledge is Not Naturally a Public Good But Needs to Be Made One" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA, Aug 30, 2017 <Not Available>. 2018-06-18 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1272686_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fuller, S. , 2017-08-30 "Beyond Academic Rentiership: Why Academic Knowledge is Not Naturally a Public Good But Needs to Be Made One" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA <Not Available>. 2018-06-18 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1272686_index.html

Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Academics (and others) take for granted that knowledge is a public good, and because academics are normally seen as the primary knowledge producers in society, they are seen as by definition producers of public goods. However, this syllogism leaves a lot to be desired. In particular, it ignores the role of academic rentiership, which is captured in the high entry and access costs associated with the production and distribution of academic knowledge. These are in turn tied to a strongly path dependent epistemic sensibility that privileges (certainly in writing practices) ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ over finding the shortest route to the top. I shall argue that while academics certainly do produce knowledge, the privileging of ‘research’ over ‘teaching’ in the academy effectively means that we produce knowledge as a club good, not a public good. I shall explore the consequences of this claim, including the prospect that we might need a version of a ‘cultural revolution’ within the academy that actively removes the access costs to knowledge which are largely imposed by a journal-driven culture which rewards relevance to a self-defined ‘cutting edge’ of research over the general public.


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