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Some Thoughts on Countering Enclosure: Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons

In Nancy Kranich’s “Countering Enclosure: Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons”, Kranich states that, “For scholarship to flourish, researchers have always needed free and open access to ideas. In today’s digital age, this means access to knowledge and information online” (85). While the critical claims that Kranich advances are ultimately persuasive, I wonder whether there are any drawbacks to her brand of altruism. Kranich is critical, for example, of “valuable information” being “privatized or restricted from the public, who used to be able to rely on this information” (86). When reading this passage, I was reminded of the fact that some of my professors at the GC openly discourage their students from posting their theses to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database, because of the looming fear that such public exposure would render their work ineligible for publication (it would be considered, in effect, previously published). Is such a fear substantiated in the first place? (In applying for a grant recently, I heavily relied on ProQuest’s database in order to locate “gaps” in current scholarship…it was a resource that  I admittedly found immensely useful and was grateful that it was accessible to me). But for the sake of playing devil’s advocate I wonder –  Are there other times/other examples that might justify withholding one’s work from public consumption?