The Invisible Workload of Open Research

Author : Thomas J. Hostler

It is acknowledged that conducting open research requires additional time and effort compared to conducting ‘closed’ research. However, this additional work is often discussed only in abstract terms, a discourse which ignores the practicalities of how researchers are expected to find the time to engage with these practices in the context of their broader role as multifaceted academics.

In the context of a sector that is blighted by stress, burnout, untenable workloads, and hyper-competitive pressures to produce, there is a clear danger that additional expectations to engage in open practices add to the workload burden and increase pressure on academics even further. In this article, the theories of academic capitalism and workload creep are used to explore how workload models currently exploit researchers by mismeasuring academic labour.

The specific increase in workload resulting from open practices and associated administration is then outlined, including via the cumulative effects of administrative burden.

It is argued that there is a high chance that without intervention, increased expectations to engage in open research practices may lead to unacceptable increases in demands on academics. Finally, the individual and systematic responsibilities to mitigate this are discussed.

URL : The Invisible Workload of Open Research


The COVID-19 Pandemic, Academia, Gender, and Beyond: A Review

Author : Pınar E. Dönmez

This article aims to engage critically with the scholarly narratives and the emerging literature on the gender impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in academia. It outlines the key contours and themes in these scholarly discourses and conceptions, acknowledging their richness, depth and strengths especially given the short timespan within which they have developed since 2020.

The article then suggests broadening and historicising the critique advanced by the literature further. In doing so, the hierarchies and vulnerabilities exposed in the academic domain by the pandemic are positioned within a holistic understanding of crisis-ridden characteristics of social relations under capitalism.

URL : The COVID-19 Pandemic, Academia, Gender, and Beyond: A Review


Communication Research, the Geopolitics of Knowledge and Publishing in High-Impact Journals: The Chronicle of a Commodification Process Foretold

Authors : Víctor Manuel Marí Sáez, Clara Martins do Nascimento

The reforms in higher education that have been introduced on a global scale in recent years have gone hand in glove with the progressive imposition of scientific journal impact factors, all of which points to the rise of academic capitalism and digital labour in universities that is increasingly subject to the logic of the market.

A diachronic analysis of this process allows for talking about, paraphrasing Gabriel García Márquez, the chronicle of a commodification process foretold. More than twenty years ago it was clear what was going to happen, but not how it was going to unfold.

Accordingly, this article reconstructs that process, comparing the Spanish case with global trends and highlighting the crucial role that governmental agencies like the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation and specific evaluation tools like the publication of scientific papers in high-impact journals have played in it.

In this analysis, Wallerstein’s core-periphery relations and the concept of commodity fetishism, as addressed by Walter Benjamin, prove to be especially useful. The main research question posed in this article is as follows: What does the process of the commodification of communication research look like in Spain?

URL : Communication Research, the Geopolitics of Knowledge and Publishing in High-Impact Journals: The Chronicle of a Commodification Process Foretold