The open access movement is being commercialised. Websites like ResearchGate and — both launched in 2008 — are privatizing and individualizing open access on a global scale by transforming scholarship repositories into social networks that capture value from social relations and social metrics. They pit scientists against each other in a global game of measurement and mentions.

Our ongoing ethnographic research on open access, based on interviews with 14 subjects across four continents, supplemented by historical and longitudinal documentation of everyday scientific practices, suggests that scholars feel trapped by commercial open access.

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