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Hacking the Academy: "The Crisis of Audience and the Open-Access Solution" by John Unsworth

       Besides the awkward opening, where the author affirms that his daughter has "real friends," I found myself to agree mostly with this article. Overall, Unsworth argues that the crisis in scholarly publishing has something to do with "audience" and that the problem of audience can possibly be helped through implementing  open-access publishing. I liked how he pointed out that open-access publishing is not something that the academy should be afraid of because no harm can really be done. Either, the readership will stay stagnant or increase. Though open-access publishing can invite more critique of the humanties' monographs, but this according to Unsworth, would only "hasten the demise of a doommed genre." Another part of this article I appreciated was how it presented he following opposing ideas: that the problem of audience could come from the humanities being "intentionally obscure" or that it is not a matter of "dumbing-down" scholarly work but making it more widely accesible. By presenting these two opposing Unsworth shows that the issue of audience is complex and cannot be solved with one easy answer.  

        One thing that Unsworth did not include in his anaylsis that I think is important to mention, is the idea of content. Maybe the audience is decreasing or maybe scholars are having difficulty reaching an audience outside of the academy because people are not interested in the academic work the academy is producing. Maybe it is the unrelatablity of the work produced or the repetiveness of the tropes of white men, politics and war that cause people to lose interest or fail to see themselves in the work. If the academy wants to gain more audience then it has to examine what is being researched and how could it alineate, be repetative, or uninteresting to the greater public. I believe that often when people read work from the humanities they want something they can relate to or connect to their culture and the problems they are facing. If the academy really wants to reach a larger audience and still produce work like monographs it must consider how the content it is sending out is revelent and if it providing people a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them. 


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