Zachary McDowell
Publication year: 2018

How can a journal of media practice ever hope to be disruptive if it remains behind a paywall? Who has access to the disruption, and how might it be disseminated? It seems all this disruption would be, is a sidestep, a small gap for one issue, within this outdated and dying practice of large-publisher supported academic journals. There is a palpable tension between production of knowledge-media and the traditional academic journal media distribution system itself. This tension rises from the disruption of knowledge’s own goal through the distribution system: limiting the distribution of knowledge meant for free dissemination. By situating the academic journal publishing model within the understanding of un(der)paid labour (or sometimes as pay-to-play) and against the embedded ethic of knowledge-media and its transmission, particularly digital transmission, this paper pushes forward a discussion of scholarly publishing from questions of politics and economics, information labour, access, and alienation. In the end, the digital transforms not only the ability to disrupt standard publishing practices but instead it has already disrupted and continues to break these practices open for consideration and transformation.