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Of the rich and the poor and other curious minds: on open access and “development”

Jutta Haider (Department of Information Science, City University London, London, UK)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 12 July 2007




The paper seeks to reconsider open access and its relation to issues of “development” by highlighting the ties the open access movement has with the hegemonic discourse of development and to question some of the assumptions about science and scientific communication upon which the open access debates are based. The paper also aims to bring out the conflict arising from the convergence of the hegemonic discourses of science and development with the contemporary discourse of openness.


The paper takes the form of a critical reading of a range of published work on open access and the so‐called “developing world” as well as of various open access declarations. The argument is supported by insights from post‐development studies.


Open access is presented as an issue of moral concern beyond the narrow scope of scholarly communication. Claims are made based on hegemonic discourses that are positioned as a priori and universal. The construction of open access as an issue of unquestionable moral necessity also impedes the problematisation of its own heritage.


This paper is intended to open up the view for open access's less obvious alliances and conflicting discursive ties and thus to initiate a politisation, which is necessary in order to further the debate in a more fruitful way.



Haider, J. (2007), "Of the rich and the poor and other curious minds: on open access and “development”", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 59 No. 4/5, pp. 449-461.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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