For My English Readers: In collaboration with Jacob Hecht (see http://www.jacobhecht.com/english.html) I have written an article (in Hebrew) entitled "Academic Scientific Knowledge and Culture in the Internet Age". Here is an abstract of the study. The full reference in Hebrew can be found here
Summery: The study focuses upon the introduction of the Internet into academic publishing. It explores how the commercialization of knowledge dissemination has been accompanied by the regulation of knowledge dissemination, particularly among online periodicals. Concurrently, new media channels of communications have expanded the channels of accessibility to information (in Blogs, personal websites and other means) and have been part of the growing ‘open source movement’ that promotes online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions access to literature that have traditionally been published in scientific journals. In light of these developments, the study’s aim is to uncover how does the introduction of academic materials to the Internet shape the structure of the academic community? We argue that the introduction of the Internet to the academic culture redefines the power relations between actors of the social system of scientific publishing (i.e. consumers, distributors and scholars). Furthermore, inspection into the activities of open access movement indicates that the Internet influences not only the dissemination of scientific information, but impacts the academic culture itself. This can be seen in the leveling of the image and relations between scientists and the general public and in the popularization of science and scientists. The open source movement has lent itself to changes in the academic discourse, to the upward mobility in prestige of many new online periodicals, yet continues to support the struggle of these online journals for legitimacy, approval and dominance in the field of scientific production.