In a move that could bring a major change to the culture of academia, the arts and sciences faculty of Harvard University yesterday voted unanimously to distribute their scholarship online for free rather than signing exclusive deals with obscure, often expensive scholarly journals. Journal officials worry, the Boston Globe reports, that the move threatens the peer-review process.
The decision is a coup for the open-access movement, which seeks to make scientific and scholarly research publicly available. But critics worry that smaller journals could go under, and, more important, that lack of peer review will water down scholarship. Harvard said it expects other universities to "be emboldened by Harvard to follow its lead."