Berlatsky: You talk about various methods for funding journals if paywalls are taken away, including having authors pay a substantial fee (which is done in the sciences, where the fees are usually paid for from the author's grants). I wonder though … why don't universities have more money to subsidize their presses? Tuition fees are skyrocketing, the use of cheaper adjunct faculty is on the rise. It seems like universities should have a ton of money. Are university presses just not a very big priority?
Eve: You are right (although this situation of tuition fees is not the case worldwide: Germany has just reverted to a fully state-funded solution, for instance). University presses are often not seen as a priority, though, from an administration point of view.
From their perspective the options look like this: 1) We can pile loads of money into our (new?) press to subsidize production while also paying for access to all the other work our researchers need or 2) We can not pay for the press and instead just pay for access to all the other work our researchers need.
In other words, it looks to administrators like an additional cost rather than part of a systematic attempt to change the culture and fix what is essentially an unsustainable system.
Some universities are very rich. It is a mistake, though, to universally categorize them as such. Many institutions worldwide—certainly in the U.K.—are balanced precariously and even if they understand the transformation that might be made by funding scholarly communications from the supply side, they struggle to find the cash-in-hand to fund enterprises like university presses that could change it.
Berlatsky: In your book you argue that academic articles and books should not just be free, but should be available for republication by anyone, or even available for partial reuse. What sort of reuse are you envisioning? And couldn't there be a problem with plagiarism?
Eve: The current system of fair use is being read in increasingly restricted terms. For instance, using an epigraph from another academic's work is now disallowed by some publishers.
We also cannot distribute repographically produced copies of work for teaching, even within the university, without a (paid-for) license. Likewise, we cannot re-write research articles and reproduce them on Wikipedia without extensive changes, lowering the public reach of our work. We cannot translate work into other languages, even where no commercial translation exists or will exist … The list goes on.
I don't think that plagiarism is so much of a concern. Plagiarism specifically means passing off someone else's work as your own. All of the licenses that have been suggested explicitly state that re-used work must be credited to the original author (without implying endorsement). Beyond that, we also have institutional sanctions. If another academic re-used my work without citing me, he or she would likely lose his or her post.