Discussion Questions 11/13/06
John Willinsky’s “Opening” and “Cooperative”
Willinksy makes a fairly thoughtful and passionate case for widening access to scholarly works. Are there any obstacles or issues that you think Willinsky does not consider? Do you think Willinsky does a good job of addressing the arguments he does bring up against open access?
Willinsky mentions Janet Mansbridge's point that the "public good" is a necessary and positive but "dangerous concept", as the idea of what should be done for the good of the public is often created in large part to serve the interests of the powerful. Is it possible to view libraries in this light?
In Chapter One Willinsky uses the metaphor of a lighthouse when explaining the concept of "for the public good"- because a lighthouse illuminates all ships that pass, equally. Why wasn’t a public library used for this metaphor, do they not attempt to serve the same purpose, and illuminate all equally?
Willinsky proposes a publishing and archiving cooperative model as a viable means to provide open access to scholarly publications. Is this model feasible?