Reactionary Rhetoric Against Open Access Publishing

Wayne Bivens-Tatum


In 2013, Jeffrey Beall published an attack on the open-access scholarship movement in tripleC: “The Open-Access Movement Is Not Really About Open Access”. This article examines the claims and arguments of that contribution. Beall’s article makes broad generalizations about open-access advocates with very little supporting evidence, but his rhetoric provides good examples of what Albert O. Hirschman called the “rhetoric of reaction”. Specifically, it provides examples of the perversity thesis, the futility thesis, and the jeopardy thesis in action. While the main argument is both unsound and invalid, it does show a rare example of reactionary rhetoric from a librarian.


Open-access; Scholarly publishing; Reactionary; Rhetoric

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