Revisiting “the 1990s debutante”: Scholar‐led publishing and the prehistory of the open access movement

Author : Samuel A. Moore

The movement for open access publishing (OA) is often said to have its roots in the scientific disciplines, having been popularized by scientific publishers and formalized through a range of top‐down policy interventions. But there is an often‐neglected prehistory of OA that can be found in the early DIY publishers of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Managed entirely by working academics, these journals published research in the humanities and social sciences and stand out for their unique set of motivations and practices.

This article explores this separate lineage in the history of the OA movement through a critical‐theoretical analysis of the motivations and practices of the early scholar‐led publishers.

Alongside showing the involvement of the humanities and social sciences in the formation of OA, the analysis reveals the importance that these journals placed on experimental practices, critique of commercial publishing, and the desire to reach new audiences.

Understood in today’s context, this research is significant for adding complexity to the history of OA, which policymakers, advocates, and publishing scholars should keep in mind as OA goes mainstream.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24306

Common Struggles: Policy-based vs. scholar-led approaches to open access in the humanities

Author : Samuel A. Moore

Open access publishing (OA) not only removes price and permission restrictions to academic research, but also represents an opportunity to reassess what publishing means to the humanities.

OA is increasingly on the agenda for humanities researchers in the UK, having been mandated in various forms by universities and governmental funders strongly influenced by advocates in the STEM disciplines.

Yet publishing practices in the humanities are unique to the field and any move to a new system of scholarly communication has the potential to conflict with the ways in which humanities research is published, many of which are shaped by the expectations of the neoliberal university that uniquely impact on the practices of humanities researchers.

Furthermore, OA does not reflect a unified ideology, business model or political outlook, and different methods of publication based on open practices will inherently represent a variety of values, struggles or conceptual enclosures.

This thesis assesses the contrasting values and practices of different approaches to OA in the humanities through a series of case-studies on governmental and scholar-led forms of OA, explored through a critical methodology comprising both constructivism and deconstruction.

The thesis argues that the UK governmental policy framework, comprised of policies introduced by the Research Councils (RCUK) and Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCE), promotes a form of OA that intends to minimise disruption to the publishing industry.

The scholar-led ecosystem of presses, in contrast, reflects a diversity of values and struggles that represent a counter-hegemonic alternative to the dominant cultures of OA and publishing more generally.

The values of each approach are analysed on a spectrum between the logic of choice versus the logic of care (following the work of Annemarie Mol) to illustrate how the governmental policies promote a culture of OA predominantly focused on tangible outcomes, whereas the scholar-led presses prioritise an ethic of care for the cultures of how humanities research is produced and published.

In prioritising a commitment to care, scholar-led presses display a praxis that resembles the kinds of activities and relationships centred on common resource management (‘commoning’).

The thesis concludes with a series of recommendations for how such care-full values could be best realised in an emancipatory commons-based ecosystem of OA publishing for the humanities, which would be cultivated through a range of institutions and political interventions.

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/st5m-cx33

Collectivity and collaboration: imagining new forms of communality to create resilience in scholar-led publishing

Authors : Janneke Adema, Samuel A. Moore

The Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC) is a community of scholar-led, not-for-profit presses, journals and other open access (OA) projects. The collective promotes a progressive vision for open access based on mutual alliances between the 45+ member presses and projects seeking to offer an alternative to commercial and legacy models of publishing.

This article presents a case study of the collective, highlighting how it harnesses the strengths and organizational structures of not-for-profit, independent and scholar-led publishing communities by 1) further facilitating collective efforts through horizontal alliances, and by 2) enabling vertical forms of collaboration with other agencies and organizations within scholarly publishing.

It provides a background to the origins of the ROAC, its members, its publishing models on display and its future plans, and highlights the importance of experimenting with and promoting new forms of communality in not-for-profit OA publishing.

URL : Collectivity and collaboration: imagining new forms of communality to create resilience in scholar-led publishing

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.399

A genealogy of open access: negotiations between openness and access to research

Author : Samuel A. Moore

Open access (OA) is a contested term with a complicated history and a variety of understandings. This rich history is routinely ignored by institutional, funder and governmental policies that instead enclose the concept and promote narrow approaches to OA.

This article presents a genealogy of the term open access, focusing on the separate histories that emphasise openness and reusability on the one hand, as borrowed from the open-source software and free culture movements, and accessibility on the other hand, as represented by proponents of institutional and subject repositories.

This genealogy is further complicated by the publishing cultures that have evolved within individual communities of practice: publishing means different things to different communities and individual approaches to OA are representative of this fact.

From analysing its historical underpinnings and subsequent development, I argue that OA is best conceived as a boundary object, a term coined by Star and Griesemer (1989) to describe concepts with a shared, flexible definition between communities of practice but a more community-specific definition within them.

Boundary objects permit working relationships between communities while allowing local use and development of the concept. This means that OA is less suitable as a policy object, because boundary objects lose their use-value when ‘enclosed’ at a general level, but should instead be treated as a community-led, grassroots endeavour.

URL : https://rfsic.revues.org/3220