Galin & Latchaw: "From Incentive to Stewardship: The Shifting Discourse of Academic Publishing"

Galin, J. R., & Latchaw, J. (2010). From incentive to stewardship: The shifting discourse of academic publishing. Computers and Composition, 27(3), 211-224. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2010.06.010







This article explores the "opposing metaphors" employed in the copyright debate between academics and publishers, ultimate arguing for a new set of rhetorical strategies.


Research Questions:


Not stated as a question; however, Galin and Latchaw''s thesis implies questioning how the opposing metaphors used in the copyright debate affect the practices of both academics and publishers and "why disciplinary work in computers and writing and the field of composition as a whole have been slow to change despite the dramatic changes in technologies, publishing practices, and online communities over the past decade" (p. 211).




Rhetorical (textual and contextual)  and historical analyses  of: the Copyright Term Extension Act, Creative Commons; the web sites for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Chilling Effects Clearninghouse; the National Institutes for Health publishing mandate and current Congressional acts and Supreme Court cases.




Galin and Latchaw find that the discourse between publishers and content users and authors has been "highly polarized" (p. 218)


Authors'' Interpretation of Results:


The authors maintain that the bitterness and vitriol of these debates have seriously limited the possibilities for productive negotiation and change. They characterize the era as one of a changing understanding of intellectual property and access. They argue that "we can imagine more productive relationships, more useful research environments, and more effective and efficient means of distributing and managing new knowledge in the field of rhetoric and assessing how digital technologies can: 1) reform the ways we rethink discourses and metaphors concerning collaborative relationships, 2) produce and distribute new knowledge, 3) manage content of our field, and 4) alter tenure and promotion decision-making processes" (p. 218). They ultimately envision a "new paradigm [that] will shift from a fixation on the product of intellectual work to the processes of creating new knowledge and expanding its uses" (p. 223).


Suggestions for Further Research:


As with most articles of this research type, this piece does not so much suggest further research but calls to action.




Galin and Latchaw offer an intriguing analysis of copyright discourse. However, it seems that their focus on the rhetoric is at times unequal. For example, they analyze the websites of the EFF and CEC (groups pushing for reform), noting seemingly "combative" metaphors (p. 215). When describing the stances of those fighting to maintain the status quo, however, the use of metaphor (or, perhaps, the absence of metaphor) is not acknowledged. Little analysis is done, in fact, of publishers''/copyright owners'' characterization of the opposition.



We examine the effects that opposing metaphors have on the practices of academics and publishers—in terms of policy initiatives, litigation, and technological advances—and argue that a new set of rhetorical strategies should be deployed to create a vision for copyright laws and publishing practices.We draw from the work of Kenneth Crews to define alternative metaphors and strategies for more effective management of copyrights: stewardship, unbundling of copyrights, and processes of negotiation, for instance, rather than ownership and control. Such terms provide a radical disruption to publishing-as-usual and may serve as the necessary incentive for creators and publishers to foster more co-equal, reciprocal relationships and publishing contracts. The results of such negotiations may become more consistent with current tenure and promotion practices that drive faculty attitudes about academic publishing practices. We believe this because the profit reward for publishers is increasingly at odds with scholarly rewards that accrue from expanded readership, increased citations, expanded accessibility, and accelerated production of new knowledge. We conclude by applying metaphors to practices of open access, institutional repositories, and commercial publishing as a way to understand why disciplinary work in computers and writing and the field of composition as a whole have been slow to change despite the dramatic changes in technologies, publishing practices, and online communities over the past decade, and also to envision a way to move forward.We suggest that academics and publishers alike are too fixated on the products of intellectual work rather than the processes of use.