Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
On the one hand, there's the idea that professors should be as famous as movie stars, athletes and business executives. That's what motivates this sentiment: "If scholars want the equivalent of being on the news-stand, she said, they just need to be open." But I think that fame - even academic fame - has very little to do with openness. Quite the opposite - the people trumped up as celebrities by the press are people you have to pay to access. Musicians, movie stars, athletes, CEOs - nobody gets to see them for free. And the relationship is symbiotic - the news media funnels an audience their way, and these same people, whether they're selling an album, a movie or a car, send some of their earnings back to the media. Open access artists break the cycle; they don't pay (or don't pay nearly as well) for publicity. So it should be clear that merely being open is not going to get you into the news stands.

You can be open, or you can be famous. Being famous means buying into the money machine that creates fame. But the money machine won't make you famous unless you're selling something, unless you can pay your way. Make no mistake about it. If you support openness, if you are, open, you are turning your back on fame.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Copyright 2021
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 10:53 a.m.