Open access has a number of effects on scientific discourse, some of which are only now becoming visible. A prominent effect of open access is the abolishment of the border between research inputs and outputs, transforming the process of scholarly inquiry. The creation and availability of data and finished research products tend to be more and more collapsed into one permanent flow of information, without fixed boundaries between a dynamic research process and a static notion of “publication.” Enabling researchers to permanently and openly access data and results at all processing stages changes the interactivity, the participational structure and the nature of scientific enquiry. In addition to changing the function and the nature of what constitutes “a publication,” and apart from the change in financial underpinnings of a new science, there are ripple effects for what is “excellent” research and for research evaluation. New notions of ownership and copyright adapted to a largely decommodified science discourse need to evolve. Roles of librarians will need to be redefined. The status of the book will be redefined. It is argued that these effects are embedded in, and part of, a new way of reorganizing cultural knowledge and its preservation.
Stein was President of the International Society of Historical Linguistics, and is currently President of the International Language and Law Society. He is also editor-in-chief of the Linguistic Society of America’s digital publication portal eLanguage. He was the organizer and conference director of “Berlin 6,” the Max Planck Open Access conference at Duesseldorf. Current research areas include language of the law, computer-mediated communication and language development.
Dieter Stein has taught at various universities in the United States, Canada, Spain and Italy, was an invited scholar at UCLA, Berkeley and UBC. His publications cover a broad range of topics ranging from the theory of linguistic change, to language and communication in the Internet, the theory of genre and the language of law.