Reading Differently : Expanding Open Access Definitions Towards Greater Knowledge Equity

Author : Hanna Rebekka Kiesewetter

This practice-based thesis is situated in the globalised sphere of digital knowledge production in the context of Open Access (OA) publishing. It is reading different accounts of the history of knowledgeproduction and a broad variety of approaches to OA publishing – emerging in English and non-Englishspeaking research cultures, in diverse economic, socio-political, and disciplinary contexts – together.

As part of this reading, this thesis emphasises the dominant humanist tendencies in this discourse aswell as the attempts to critique them. By doing so, it problematises persisting inequities in the field –what can be called a Eurocentric or neo-imperialist bias – and presents ways to create more diverseand equitable conditions for OA publishing today.

This thesis puts forward that increasing participation in the processes and practices of scholarlyknowledge creation (such as research, writing, and editing) and sharing (such as reading and publishing) – and seeing this as an inherent part of OA publishing – is key to facilitating fairerconditions for OA publishing.

The focus of many prominent approaches to OA publishing has instead been on extending access to research outputs (such as papers and books), thereby restricting OApublishing to the consumption of knowledge.

To substantiate this claim, this thesis conceptualisescritical OA publishing as a distinct OA tradition – reflective of a variety of strands within OA publishing – positioned within a longer history of “antagonist” theoretical and practical engagementswith dominant (humanist) epistemologies.

This genealogical positioning emphasises that critical OAadvocates have always stressed that OA publishing should not only be about how readers consumetexts, but also about who has access to, and controls the governance of, the means of knowledge production; it elucidates why this includes an attentiveness to the processes and practices ofknowledge production as sites of struggle for knowledge equity and diversity; and it helps me todevise a novel interventionist (reading) methodology.

This methodology is one of the main outcomes of this thesis. It exemplifies and enacts howminimising the socio-cultural, behavioural, and linguistic barriers to participation in the processes and practices of knowledge production can advance knowledge equity and diversity. This methodology adds to critical experiments with writing, editing, and publishing conducted by critical OA advocates to facilitate fairer conditions for scholarship.

It can be applied in various contexts ofcollaborative academic knowledge production (for example, research or writing). It has been devised based on the main insights from this thesis, it has been tested within two experimental onlinereading groups, The Re-Reading Room, and it is discussed in an experimental piece of writing.