Free mathematics

Freedom of Science field is getting hot! After recent activism by international mathematics community to save the Mathematics Village now mathematicians are taking a stand against the multinational organisms controlling the distribution of mathematical knowledge. 
John Baez wrote:

There is really no reason for us to donate our work to profit-making corporations who sell it back to us at exorbitant price!

Upon a discussion at n-Category Café  Blake Stacey started MathSciJournalWiki to be ((The name of the wiki has been changed to Eureka! Science Journal Watch))

a freely-editable source of information on scientific journals, especially in mathematics. It aims to be a central resource for understanding the journal system, and a catalyst for change — change away from current system of corporate-run journal monopolies, towards an open-access system run by the scholars themselves.

This is a great development. I think that we will see the same freeing of delivery channels in mathematical knowledge that blogging revolution forced on global media companies. After all the same giant organisms who control scholarly journals also control major chunks of the media. ((See John Baez’ What We Can Do About Science Journals for consolidation in the publishing industry.))

But why are mathematicians insisting on keeping the journal system as part of the academic business? Why not dump journal system altogether and move to a free modern distribution system?

The answer is that authority is the currency of academia. Journals convert academic product of mathematicians into authority and professional points:

The culture of academe, with its “prestige economy,” has been a damper on change [of the journal system]. Career advancement depends on publishing in leading, well-established journals. … Some promotion and tenure committees may not yet recognize the value of new forms of digital scholarship. ((The changing scholarly communication process in CreateChange. The slogan of CreateChange is: Shouldn’t the way we share research be as advanced as the Internet?))

Unless a new rating system of academic careers is established journals will be here to stay.

And when will physicists join the free science movement? The free distribution of knowledge is acutely needed in physics. More than in mathematics. ((As opposed to mathematicians, physicists actively play to the media and actively seek fame.))