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2) Open Scholarship and the Open Scholarship Movement

Published onJan 14, 2023
2) Open Scholarship and the Open Scholarship Movement

+ Arbuckle, Alyssa, Nina Belojevic, Matthew Hiebert, Ray Siemens, Shaun Wong, Derek Siemens, Alex Christie, Jon Saklofske, Jentery Sayers, and the INKE and ETCL Research Groups. 2014. “Social Knowledge Creation: Three Annotated Bibliographies.”

Arbuckle, Belojevic, Hiebert, Siemens, with Wong, Siemens, Christie, Saklofske, Sayers, and the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) and Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) research groups provide three annotated bibliographies anchored in social knowledge creation. They claim that their project transiently represents interrelational research areas and that it emphasizes “(re)shaping processes that produce knowledge” (n.p). The authors address the work’s intent, highlighting the importance of collaboration and open source. They discuss the principles to which this bibliography adheres, addressing topics such as the book, print, remediation of culture, and interaction and collaboration. In addition, they explore the importance of digital tools and gamification to the practice of social knowledge creation. The three main parts of this document are social knowledge creation and conveyance, game-design models for digital social knowledge creation, and social knowledge creation tools. Each of these sections begins with an introduction that presents an overview of the section’s content and ends with a complete alphabetical list of selections.

¤ Arbuckle, Alyssa, and John Maxwell. 2019. “Modelling Open Social Scholarship Within the INKE Community.” KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (February): 2.

Arbuckle and Maxwell contest that, given the current state of digital technology, there is a clear opportunity to revamp scholarly communication into a multi-faceted, open system that integrates and takes advantage of the near-ubiquitous global network. In doing so, the values of collaboration, sharing, and transparency inherent to open social scholarship can be integrated into knowledge dissemination methods. The INKE community is currently organized around the idea of open social scholarship, but putting this into practice will involve assessing and revising its own scholarly communication processes. Arbuckle and Maxwell explore the current state of open access to academic research and ruminate on next steps, beyond open access. They consider the role of collaboration in contemporary academic practice, and the importance of transparency in regards to multiplayer work. Further, the authors examine the standard scholarly communication model, especially as it pertains to INKE. Finally, Arbuckle and Maxwell make recommendations and suggest alternatives for transforming our stock scholarly communication models into open social scholarship practices.

† Benkler, Yochai. 2003. “Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information.” Duke Law Journal 52 (6): 1245–76.

Benkler analyzes the pervasive social influence of the Internet, with a focus on the economic and political changes affected by the rise and ubiquity of digital spaces, networks, and action. He argues that the Internet has caused two new social phenomena to occur: “nonmarket production” (production by an individual without intention to generate profit) and “decentralized production” (production that occurs outside of the sanctioned centres of industry). In turn, these phenomena facilitate new opportunities to pursue democracy, individual freedom, and social justice. The forms of production incited by the Internet permit individuals and communities to gain control over their work, means of production, and networks of relations, and consequently to garner more influence. Benkler concludes by rallying readers to take advantage of the opportunities the digital environment boasts in order to build more just and democratic social, economic, and political systems.

+ Besser, Howard. 2004. “The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Libraries.” In A Companion to Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, 557–75. Oxford: Blackwell.

Besser provides a history of digital libraries and argues for their continued importance in humanities disciplines. Libraries, archives, and museums can use high quality digital surrogates of original material from different repositories so that they appear to be catalogued within the same collection. The author notes that libraries have long upheld ethical traditions, clientele service, stewardship, and sustainability in addition to facilitating use of their collections. Besser also details the philosophies of metadata. To correct current problems facing digital libraries, the author suggests that web architecture should no longer violate conventional library practices of providing relative location information for a work, as this impinges on the ability of users to access the material.

¤ Borgman, Christine L. 2015. Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Borgman presents a thorough overview of research data across the disciplines. She argues that data are not very well understood but are also critical for the sustenance and sustainability of scholarship. Borgman compares how data are developed, manipulated, and stored in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and repeatedly suggests that better and more comprehensive research data management practices and knowledge infrastructures are needed. Of note, she also considers the ways in which data interplay with the open scholarship movement.

+ Borgman, Christine. 2007. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Borgman provides a thorough overview of the digital scholarship environment that accounts for trends and issues in policies, institutions, disciplines, and technologies. Her goal is to characterize the state of digital scholarship and to frame it within social, historical, and technological contexts. Borgman situates digital scholarship (or e-Research, as she often refers to it) within a longer trajectory of efforts to make scholarly communication more efficient, useful, and expansive. She also suggests that a bottom-up approach to digital scholarship will ultimately not be successful, because of low incentives and high barriers. Contrary to grassroots advocates, Borgman believes that institutions and policymakers, rather than individual faculty members or librarians, must implement digital scholarship. Overall, Borgman urges her readers to think critically about how—and why—the academic community is building digital infrastructure to support and supplement scholarly research.

▲ Boyle, James. 2018. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Boyle discusses the history of intellectual property law. The central argument is that the current US system of intellectual property law does not fit the original purpose of these laws: to promote innovation and creativity. According to Boyle, the traditional logic is that increased intellectual property rights means that potential competitors will need to create their own models (especially pertinent in the modelling of machinery in Industrial Age America), rather than copying existing models of their competitors, which should breed a culture of innovation. In the information age, however, this system of copyright law has become a restrictive machination that undercuts the need for robust knowledge commons in the sciences and other intellectual domains. For Boyle, common intellectual property has always been the greatest piece of public inheritance contributing to innovation, and he sees giving producers and consumers increased ability to freely circulate and consume intellectual work as a necessary step toward promoting a culture of innovation today. Chapter 8 focuses on Creative Commons, a non-profit organization that releases copyright licenses free of charge to the public, for which Boyle was Chairman of the Board at the time this book was published. The author explains how the transformation from the publishing industry as the mechanism for distribution of intellectual materials to a culture of online self-publishing has necessitated a change in the way we think of intellectual property rights. Boyle’s ideal future includes a great expansion of open source and open access resources without completely negating the need for private intellectual property rights. Overall, the book outlines the need for a reworked relationship between intellectual property law and intellectual commons. 

Bullard, Julia. 2019. “Knowledge Organization for Open Scholarship.” Pop! Public. Open. Participatory 1 (October).

Bullard discusses the need for culturally specific knowledge organization infrastructures as a foundation for open scholarship in Canada. Focusing on subject description, the process by which the “aboutness” of information resources is described, the author notes that the standards for subject description—the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), PubMed’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), and the Modern Language Association (MLA) Commons—were developed in the US. Like all knowledge systems, these systems reflect the perspectives and biases of their creators; thus, using them to structure and organize Canadian scholarship may lead to its “distortion.” Bullard outlines plans for a research project that draws on infrastructure theory and critical theory to investigate the creation of subject description infrastructure informed by openness, multiculturalism, and decolonization. The author concludes by noting that this research into knowledge organization infrastructures is well aligned with the INKE Project’s interest in open infrastructure.

+ Burke, Peter. 2000. A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Burke discusses the various agents and elements of social knowledge production with a specific focus on intellectuals and Europe in the early modern period (until c. 1750). He argues that knowledge is always plural and that various types of knowledge develop, surface, intersect, and play concurrently. Burke relies on sociology, including the work of Émile Durkheim, and critical theory, including the work of Michel Foucault, as a basis to develop his own notions of social knowledge production. He acknowledges that the church, scholarly institutions, the government, and the printing press have all had a significant effect on knowledge production and dissemination, often affirmatively but occasionally through restriction or containment. Furthermore, Burke explores how both “heretics” (humanist revolutionaries) and more conventional academic structures developed the university as a knowledge institution.

† Burke, Peter. 2012. A Social History of Knowledge II: From the Encyclopedie to Wikipedia. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Burke develops his research from the first volume (A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot) by expanding his scope from the early modern period into the twentieth century. He continues to rely on certain foundational notions for this volume: knowledge is plural and varied; knowledge is produced by various institutions and conditions instead of solely by individuals; and the social production of knowledge is intrinsically connected to the economic and political environments in which it develops. As with the first volume, Burke focuses mainly on academic knowledge, with brief forays into other forms or sites of knowledge.

+ Chan, Leslie. 2004. “Supporting and Enhancing Scholarship in the Digital Age.” Canadian Journal of Communication 29 (3): 277–300.

Chan argues that the key goal of open access is to maximize the impact of research by reaching the largest number of readers possible. This impact can be measured by counting citation references connected to specific articles. The author summarizes a study conducted by the Institute of Scientific Information that found, when studying 190 journals, that those with open access and those with proprietary access showed no difference in impact. However, Chan argues that these data are invalid because the study took the journal, not the individual article, as its unit of measurement. Conducting his own research, Chan finds that there was, in fact, an impact factor difference of 300% in favour of open access articles. For Chan, knowledge is a public good and must be distributed as openly as possible.

† Cohen, Daniel J., and Tom Scheinfeldt. 2013. Preface to Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities, edited by Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, 3–5. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Cohen and Scheinfeldt introduce Hacking the Academy, a digital publishing experiment and attempt to reform academic institutions and practices by crowdsourcing content. The editors called for submissions to their project with the caveat that participants had one week to submit. Cohen and Scheinfeldt pitched their project with the following questions: “Can an algorithm edit a journal? Can a library exist without books? Can students build and manage their own learning management platforms? Can a conference be held without a program? Can Twitter replace a scholarly society?” (3). Roughly one sixth of the 329 submissions received were included in the consequent publication. The intent of the project was to reveal the desire and possibility for large institutional change via digital means.

Fecher, Benedikt, and Sascha Friesike. 2014. “Open Science: One Term, Five Schools of Thought.” In Opening Science: The Evolving Guide on How the Internet Is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing, edited by Sönke Bartling and Sascha Friesike, 17–47. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Through a literature review, Fecher and Friesike survey the discourse of open science and propose five schools of thought. The Democratic school emphasizes equitable access to knowledge and is associated with open access, open data, and open code. The Public school emphasizes making research accessible to the public and collaborative research and is associated with citizen science. The Pragmatic school emphasizes collaboration between researchers, and the Infrastructure school focuses on the creation of open tools and platforms. The Measurement school focuses on developing metrics and measurements for assessing research impact.

¤ Finch, Janet. 2012. “Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications [Finch Report].” Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings.

Finch explores the current state of academic publishing in the United Kingdom and makes recommendations for increasing access to research output. She takes a largely conservative stance, and her arguments stray from the reigning opinions in the open access world for appropriate and effective approaches to remedying the scholarly communication system. Whereas most open access advocates argue for the coordinated funding and provision of repositories (green open access), Finch suggests that the only reasonable way to implement an open access scholarly communication system would be to shift all of the resources to an article processing charge (APC), author-pays gold open access system. She also contests funding agencies’ requirement that embargo periods are shortened to six months. Although Finch claims the above recommendations represent a balanced solution to an issue with multiple stakeholders who often have conflicting priorities, she largely comes down on the side of publishers, and on ensuring there is no potential loss to their revenue streams.

¤ Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2019. Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Fitzpatrick ruminates on the current state of academia with a focus on dominant trends toward competition, individualism, and weakening public support. She argues that a substantial shift is required in order to reinstate public trust and build relationships with the larger communities that universities are a part of. Moreover, Fitzpatrick suggests that making scholarship available is a foundational step in collaborating with others, in line with the community engagement for which she advocates throughout the book. Overall, Fitzpatrick argues that such a transition requires an embrace of listening over telling, of care over competition, and of working with the public rather than in isolation and insulation—in short, it requires the generous thinking (and actions) of the book’s title.

¤ Jhangiani, Rajiv, and Robert Biswas-Diener, eds. 2017. Open: The Philosophy and Practices That Are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Ubiquity Press.

Jhangiani and Biswas-Diener bring together 21 chapters and case studies on open scholarship, with a distinct focus on open education and open educational resources (OERs). There is a purposeful bent in the collection toward the critical value of open practices in academia, and this is emphasized in both the introduction and conclusion to the collection. Throughout the edited collection authors reiterate the moral imperative of open practices in academia, and encourage their uptake at national, governmental, institutional, and collegial levels. Many authors in the collection also reiterate the importance of moving beyond straightforward access to online scholarly or educational resources, into a space of deepened engagement or alternative academic methods.

¤ Johns, Adrian. 2009. Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Johns performs a substantial historical analysis of information piracy and intellectual property from the seventeenth century onward. He traces contemporary notions of copyright and intellectual property back to the formalization of the book trade and argues that piracy has been rampant in the dissemination of creative material since at least that time. Johns suggests that we are about to move away from this notion of intellectual property, as for the first time since the seventeenth century the concept of authorship has transformed from its affiliation with a single individual to a more distributed, collective model, as emphasized in the open source movement. Notably, Johns reveals that the common assumption that a move toward open scholarship is a return to a more utopic, original form of science as unadulterated knowledge sharing is, in fact, false: knowledge sharing has been marked by ownership and piracy for centuries now. 

+ Kelty, Christopher. 2008. Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Kelty investigates the history and structure of the Internet with a specific focus on free software, defined as the collaborative creation of software code that is made freely available through a specific use of copyright law. He argues that the open structure of the Internet can be tied to the Free Software Movement, a social movement that formally originated during the development of the GNU/Linux operating system. Kelty categorizes practitioners who participate in these types of social movements as the recursive public, responsible for reorienting power relations around modes of creation and dissemination of a massive body of virtual information. The Free Software Movement binds together lawyers, hackers, geeks, and professionals from all types of disciplines to form the recursive public that is still actively defending users’ interest in the maintenance of an open Internet.

+ Lewis, Vivian, Lisa Spiro, Xuemao Wang, and Jon E. Cawthorne. 2015. Building Expertise to Support Digital Scholarship: A Global Perspective. Council on Library and Information Resources.

Lewis, Spiro, Wang, and Cawthorne aim to remedy the lack of global-scope research on best practices for developing, sustaining, and participating in digital scholarship centres. They argue that digital scholarship is of the utmost importance on an international scale, and it behooves the academy at large to understand and reflect on how to foster digital scholarship at the institutional level. To support this claim, Lewis et al. focus on gathering information about digital scholarship expertise, institutional structures, and requisite competencies. They conduct site visits and interviews around the world in order to pursue their digital scholarship centre research. The authors profile 16 sites from Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Overall, Lewis et al. comment on the many differences between sites, and the impossibility of drawing conclusions about how an entire country deals with digital scholarship, or the single best way to run a digital scholarship centre. They also outline the complexities of running such centres, not least of all the difficulty in securing stable, long-term funding. Regardless, Lewis et al. formulate a handful of broader recommendations for best practices, based on their interviews; the authors stress the centrality of collaboration, the importance of supportive institutional structures for staff and centres alike, and the value of prioritizing curiosity-driven research at all levels of an organization. 

† Liu, Alan. 2009. “The End of the End of the Book: Lively Margins, and Social Computing.” Michigan Quarterly Review 48 (4): 499–520.

Liu argues that books have always, in a sense, been social media. He acknowledges the increase in bibliographic and material textual studies and the correspondences between new digital reading environments and the book, with a focus on paratextual materials and marginality. In this way, Liu contests apocalyptic claims of the death of the book. Notably, Liu channels his assertions through an analysis of humanities-based digital research projects: Collex, Open Journal Systems, and PreE. He suggests that these environments allow for more thoughtful online engagement and user operability (the capacity to effectively and easily manipulate and tailor research practices) than their mainstream counterparts. The trend toward reading, researching, and writing in digital spaces does not herald the end of the book; rather, certain digital humanities projects are synthesizing integral reading practices in order to improve and facilitate more widespread knowledge production, with an eye to the inherent sociality of texts.

¤ Marczewska, Kaja, Janneke Adema, Frances McDonald, and Whitney Trettien. 2018. The Poethics of Scholarship. Coventry, UK: Post Office Press and Rope Press.

Within the concept of a scholarly poethics, or, an ethical poetics, Marczewska, Adema, McDonald, and Trettien take a critical approach to open, digital scholarship. Marczewska rails against the co-opting and corporatization of the Open Access movement and argues for a more action-oriented approach to open scholarship. Adema advocates for a return to critical, experimental open scholarship interventions. McDonald and Trettien vouch for an informal, boundary-object approach to digital scholarship. As an example, they discuss the Thresholds project, which purposefully features unfinished or in-development works. Overall, Marczewska et al. suggest that the future of open, digital scholarship might benefit from returning to its messier past—one that puts less emphasis on the production of clean and portable PDFs that fit tidily into emerging neoliberal evaluation schemes.

¤ Maxwell, John W. 2015. “Beyond Open Access to Open Publication and Open Scholarship.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3).

Maxwell imagines a humanities-based digital scholarly communication system modeled after prevalent web technologies, practices, and metaphors. He compares the opportunities that such an approach might bear to traditional scholarly communication practices. For Maxwell, the research outputs of both models share a set of common characteristics (albeit to different degrees): they reflect a considerable amount of time and labour; they are original works; they are rigorous and reviewed by experts; they are available for engagement; and they are able to be archived or preserved for future reference. Maxwell looks beyond the common characteristics of web-based and traditional academic publishing models, however, and considers how the former could break away from the latter.

+ McGregor, Heidi, and Kevin Guthrie. 2015. “Delivering Impact of Scholarly Information: Is Access Enough?” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (3).

McGregor and Guthrie write from the intellectual standpoint that open access to academic research is undoubtedly beneficial, but they also consider what other factors are required—beyond open access—to truly heighten global research impact. The authors base their argument on their experiences with JSTOR, the not-for-profit organization that negotiates access to scholarly journals and articles and in turn supplies this access to institutions and individuals on a sliding scale. McGregor and Guthrie’s primary method is to develop the Pyramid of Productive Use, which includes different conditions necessary for academics to engage with research output: literacy, technology, awareness, access, and training. Overall, they contest that open access should not end at free access, but should rather extend into the realm of productive use of research materials. 

McKiernan, Erin C. 2017. “Imagining the ‘Open’ University: Sharing Scholarship to Improve Research and Education.” PLoS Biology 15 (10).

McKiernan, founder of the Why Open Research? project, encourages institutions to support open scholarship (OS) and open access (OA) practices among their scholars. Institutional support is important because individual scholars may be unwilling to explore practices that could pose a threat to tenure or promotion. Highlights from the calls to action include phasing out paid software and textbooks, encouraging scholars to report open practices on evaluation forms, removing institutional patent support, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, and most importantly reallocating funds to open access and open scholarship initiatives. He concludes by emphasizing the benefits of open access and open scholarship practices. While recognising the economic and structural challenges to institutional change, he emphasizes that making even small changes over a period of two to five years can produce significant results.

McKiernan, Erin C., Philip E. Bourne, C. Titus Brown, Stuart Buck, Amye Kenall, Jennifer Lin, Damon McDougall, et al. 2016. “How Open Science Helps Researchers Succeed.” ELife 5 (7): e16800.

McKiernan, Bourne, Brown, Buck, Kenall, Lin, McDougall, Nosek, and Ram encourage researchers to participate in open access practices by dispelling common myths and recognising the benefits of open access. These benefits include more citations, more media coverage in mainstream and social media, copyright retention, retention of control over how work is used, equal or even lower cost for publishing (including waivers for low income authors), preservation through archiving, and reproducibility through data sharing. McKiernan et al. acknowledge the current importance of journal impact factor to scholars, but note that open access is catching up; and while they recognize that open access is not immune to issues with peer review, they point out that neither are subscription journals. It is clear from their discussion that the increasing number of funders making open access mandates will likely encourage many more researchers to follow open access practices. They conclude by offering a handful of calls to action for the researcher reading this paper: share data, preprints, and postprints to reliable public repositories, use open access publishers when possible, and preregister studies to enhance credibility.

+ Meadows, Alice. 2015. “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (3).

Meadows argues that open access should merely be the beginning of new trends of openness and access to scholarly resources. She summarizes and evaluates a series of public, low-cost access initiatives started between 1990 and 2014, including Access to Research; Electronic Information for Libraries; the International Network for Access to Scientific Publications; the New School for Social Research’s Journal Donation Project; patientACCESS; and Research for Life. Meadows argues that these initiatives are valuable for publishers because they increase access to, and usage of, content beyond core markets. While Meadows acknowledges that open access is definitely not a one-size-fits-all challenge, publishers, small businesses, and medium enterprises all have something to gain from the movement: the opportunity to engage new audiences.

Milligan, Sarah, Kimberly Silk, Alyssa Arbuckle, and Ray Siemens. 2019. “The Initial Impact of the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory.” KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (February): 16.

Milligan et al. describe the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory and discuss its origins, goals, and future directions. They argue that, as the open scholarship movement gains momentum, understanding its policy environment becomes increasingly important. The Policy Observatory, an initiative of the INKE Partnership, serves this need by tracking and contextualizing relevant policy developments and reflecting them back to the scholarly community in the form of descriptive summaries called observations, responses from INKE Partnership members, and policy collections, with developments flagged on Twitter. The authors conclude by pointing to future directions for the initiative and inviting participation from the broader open scholarship community.

Moore, Samuel A. 2017. “A Genealogy of Open Access: Negotiations between Openness and Access to Research.” Revue Française Des Sciences de l’information et de La Communication 11 (1).

Moore starts by describing open access (OA) research as that which is free and accessible online; but he adds a caveat: this is not true of open access in all communities. Open access is complicated. To illustrate this complexity, he offers the example of the High-energy physics community’s arXiv, which fits the definition of open access but which really aimed to make research available to a small community of physicists in the early days of the Internet. He shows that each community’s definition of open access is a unique dialogue between the idea of open access and a self-governing community’s peculiar needs. Restrictive definitions are, therefore, contrary to the essentially dialogic nature of open access. Moore warns that without support those communities with the greatest lobbying power will be able to prioritise their definition over that of others, erasing the open access practices of those communities. For this reason, he calls for policymakers in governments, institutions, and funding agencies to support open access as a dynamic and community-driven activity rather than forcing it to fit a certain set of criteria.

Moore, Samuel A. 2020. “Revisiting ‘the 1990s Debutante’: Scholar-Led Publishing and the Prehistory of the Open Access Movement.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 71 (7): 856–66.

Moore explores the prehistory of open access publishing in the humanities and social sciences through a critical-theoretical analysis of humanities and social sciences publishing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today the dominant variety of open access publishing is that popularised by scientific publishers and formalised in the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) Declaration. The humanities, Mandler claimed in his paper “Open Access,” were latecomers to open access publishing. To disprove this claim, Moore conducts his analysis and highlights practices unique to humanities and social sciences publishing such as critique of commercial practices, experimental design, and the exploration of power relationships between publisher, scholar, and community. These practices, he says, are once again becoming the focus of debates around issues such as researcher control and experimentation. Because of this, Moore concludes that if policymakers, advocates, and publishing scholars are to make wise decisions, they must know not only the more popular practices of the sciences but also those practices that, forming in the early days of open access, continue to shape humanities and social sciences publishing today.

¤ Neylon, Cameron. 2017a. “Openness in Scholarship: A Return to Core Values?” In Expanding Perspectives on Open Science: Communities, Cultures and Diversity in Concepts and Practices. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Electronic Publishing, edited by Leslie Chan and Fernando Loizides, 6–18. Amsterdam: IOS Press Ebooks.

Neylon argues that situating open scholarship as a radical break away from traditional scholarly communication practices is, in fact, detrimental to the movement’s success. Rather, the author suggests that advocates should present open scholarship as conservative and deeply rooted in academic practice. He highlights broadly accepted philosophical arguments for academic openness from established scholars such as Thomas Kuhn and Bruno Latour, who have both suggested that opening up scientific discourse to individuals or information from outside of the academy is beneficial.

† Nowviskie, Bethany. 2012. “Evaluating Collaborative Digital Scholarship (of, Where Credit Is Due).” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (4).

Nowviskie begins this article (developed out of a conference talk) by identifying a key disjuncture in the discipline of digital humanities: while collaboration is touted as a hallmark of digital humanities scholarship, it is glossed over in conversations about tenure and promotion. Nowviskie argues that the tenure and promotion process is ill-fitted to assessing digital humanities research because it relies on the fiction that only final outputs are scholarship. Digital scholarship, Nowviskie asserts, is rarely “done,” and that complicates our traditional notions of assessment. She argues that acknowledging project collaborators fairly can contribute to imaginative production, enthusiastic promotion, and committed preservation—three vital characteristics of collaborative scholarship. As we open scholarship up to new kinds of work, we must also accept new kinds of peer review and definitions of authorship. Nowviskie concludes with six basic principles of evaluation to reconfigure traditional humanities principles.

+ Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2015. “Making Open Science a Reality.” OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers 25.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development states that open science represents an effort toward making accessible publicly funded research in digital format and provides a rationale for open science. The authors discuss key actors in open science, including researchers, government ministries, research funding agencies, universities and public research institutes, libraries, repositories, data centres, private non-profit organizations and foundations, private scientific publishers, and businesses. They also examine policy trends in open science, which could be mandatory rules, incentives, or funding. Their main findings include statements that approach open science as a means and not an end. The authors also explore open access to scientific publications and define open access in an exploratory manner by looking at it from various perspectives, with an interest in its legal implications.

+ Prelinger, Rick. 2007. “Archives and Access in the 21st Century.” Cinema Journal 46 (3): 114–18.

Prelinger seeks to understand how moving images problematize archival practices, and how the archive can reconcile legacy practices with new cultural functions. He outlines the history of the archive’s role in film preservation and how access to film materials has largely been conceded to web services such as YouTube and the Internet Archive. Open access, for Prelinger, is an important asset for film studies, as he notes that the field is of great interest to non-academic audiences as well. The author is sceptical, however, as he does not see open access as a career-enhancing alternative for scholars who publish in comparatively expensive and limited access journals. Digital literacy goes hand-in-hand with rethinking access and copyright for the film archive. Prelinger argues that archival ethics should generally favour use over the fear of abuse, and that archives should cease to be wholesale repositories that rely on presenters, producers, and scholars to distribute the knowledge contained within them.

¤ Rentier, Bernard. 2016. “Open Science: A Revolution in Sight?” Interlending & Document Supply 44 (4): 155–60.

Rentier argues that the academy is still holding fast to traditional practices like closed peer review and prestige-based publishing even in the face of better options. The author also comments on the open access policy at his own institution, the Université de Liège, which was enacted in 2007. The Université de Liége requires all faculty to deposit publications in their institutional repository. Decisions regarding promotion, funding, and space allocations are made entirely based on repository records instead of separate curricula vitae or applications. This relatively strict institutional policy has been very successful at the Université de Liége, and a 2015 faculty survey revealed that 91% of respondents are satisfied with the process. For Rentier, digital technologies provide many more choices for open practices and academics need to take advantage of them in order to create a more ethical and efficient scholarly communication system.

* Tatum, Clifford, and Nicholas W. Jankowski. 2013. “Beyond Open Access: A Framework for Openness in Scholarly Communication.” In Virtual Knowledge: Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, edited by Paul Wouters, Anne Beaulieu, Andrea Scharnhorst, and Sally Wyatt, 183–218. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Tatum and Jankovski provide an explanation of how openness contributes to informal communication practice. They begin by defining openness and scholarly communication, and then outline innovations in formal and informal scholarly communication. The authors claim that the choice of a communication platform or technology defines the capacity for openness. They discuss not only access, but also inclusivity and transparency as the main features of openness in communication. At the end of this chapter, they analyze the theoretical and practical significance of these innovations and provide some suggestions regarding areas for additional research related to openness.

Tennant, Jonathan, Jennifer Elizabeth Beamer, Jeroen Bosman, Björn Brembs, Neo Christopher Chung, Gail Clement, Tom Crick, et al. 2019. “Foundations for Open Scholarship Strategy Development.” Preprint.

Tennant et al. intend this report as a foundational document for discussions on international strategy development. Arguing that a foundation of shared understanding about open scholarship is necessary for the global movement to advance successfully, Tennant et al. present an overview of the global Open Scholarship movement, including definitions, value statements, and strategic priorities, and they outline what they identify as its greatest opportunities and challenges. They also offer suggestions for individuals, institutions, and national actors for making scholarly work and practices more open, including short- medium- and long-term actions. The report concludes by noting that the current Open movement builds upon the long history of open practices within the scholarly community, and that individual and community-led action founded on shared principles is the best way forward.

¤ Tennant, Jonathan P., Harry Crane, Tom Crick, Jacinto Davila, Asura Enkhbayar, Johanna Havemann, Bianca Kramer, et al. 2019. “Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing.” Publications 7 (2): 34.

Tennant, Crane, Crick, Davila, Enkhbayar, Havemann, Kramer, Martin, Masuzzo, Nobes, Rice, Rivera-López, Ross-Hellauer, Sattler, Thacker, and Vanholsbeeck present and explore oft-debated issues in scholarly communication, in particular around open access publishing. They suggest that there are various misconceptions and differing opinions floating around in this realm, and hope to tackle some of these issues in order to bring more clarity to the discussion. Overall, Tennant et al. clear up misinformation and misunderstandings about open access publishing.

† Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2002. “The Content-Provider Paradox: Universities in the Information Ecosystem.” Academe 88 (5): n.p.

Vaidhyanathan warns against the increasing corporatization of American universities and other knowledge institutions. He argues that universities have begun to commodify knowledge, and that this tactic will eventually lead to the dissolution of the university as a credible source of education. Unfortunately, Vaidhyanathan does not offer an alternative model through which universities can address widespread funding and budget cuts. Nevertheless, taking a similar approach to that of Willard McCarty in Humanities Computing, Vaidhyanathan reminds his readers that education is not simply information, and should not be treated (or sold) as such.

* Veletsianos, George, and Royce Kimmons. 2012. “Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 13 (4): 166-89.

Veletsianos and Kimmons identify some assumptions of the open scholarship movement and highlight some challenges associated with them. They observe that open scholarship is usually assumed as rooted in an ethical pursuit for democratization, equality, and justice, while emphasizing the importance of digital participation for better outcomes, and that it is co-evolutionary with technological advances. Based on the work of Neil Selwyn on sociology of education and technology, the authors argue that there is a need for more critical examination of open scholarly practices, because there is a dominant narrative that overwhelmingly presents technology as positive for education in the future. Thus, the authors point out that values of social justice and equality, although ideally considered, are not necessarily always present in open scholarship practices, and that the participation in digital culture demands social and digital literacies. Furthermore, they reinforce the need to consider that technology is neither neutral nor the solution to educational and scholarly problems, and that technology and open scholarship introduce new tensions and dilemmas, by tending to connect only similarly thinking individuals and by requiring them to deal with an exponentially increasing volume of information.

Open Access

+ Anderson, Charles. 1998. “Universal Access—Free and Open Access—It Depends.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 38 (1): 25–27.

Anderson provides a brief editorial introduction to the tradition of open access values, arguing that the values of open access are anything but new. He asserts that the entire public library movement was founded on the ideas of open access, and asks how much progress has been made since then. For Anderson, it is necessary that attitudes around open access change in order to stimulate progress. It is not enough to simply provide a workstation or to secure resources; the individuals working in the institutions have to believe in the importance of open access principles.

+ Canadian Association of Research Libraries. n.d. “Open Access.” Canadian Association of Research Libraries (blog). Accessed February 22, 2017.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) advocates for open access because of the benefits it grants users, primarily open access to reading and utilizing knowledge. This mode of dissemination benefits funding agencies, since their investment has a maximized return, as well as the researchers, since their scholarship is distributed to a wider audience. The Association aligns its principles with the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) Declaration and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. From the Budapest Declaration, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries adopts and propagates the practice of publishing scholarly literature in open access. It also follows the Berlin Declaration in its decision to publish all original scientific research results and related data and metadata in open access. Thus, the Association’s vision applies to the output of the scholarly work it funds, with a criteria that emphasizes that copyright is met, and that the product is consistent with highest peer-review standards. It continues to work to implement open access standards and deal with the challenges that arise with this type of knowledge dissemination.

* Chenier, Elise. 2014. “Oral History and Open Access: Fulfilling the Promise of Democratizing Knowledge.” New American Notes Online 5.

Chenier relates digital humanities to oral history, using the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (A LOT) as a case study. She argues that both digital humanities and oral history have the potential to empower subjects as content creators rather than just passive consumers of knowledge. Chenier also remarks that online digital archives, and even more so those based on open access policies, are a way to bridge the gap between overlooked resources and broader access to them. She expresses her concern, however, with privacy, ethical considerations, and preservation issues. Agreeing with Ron Grele, who warned of the risk of having only a few dominant voices digitally accessible due to privacy concerns, the author reinforces the notion that traditional modes for addressing human issues, such as representation in digital archives, cannot be replaced by digital solutions. Nevertheless, she concludes that digital technologies provide the necessary tools to creatively address these problems.

¤ Cohen, Daniel J. 2010. “Open Access Publishing and Scholarly Values.” Dan Cohen (blog).

Cohen adds his voice to the chorus of open access advocates who aim to educate the professoriate on what exactly open access is, and why it is so crucial for knowledge dissemination and the overall health of the academic system. He identifies four emotions or values—impartiality, passion, shame, and narcissism—and relates them to the current scholarly communication system. Cohen suggests that impartiality should reign over publication venue choice; that is, the merit of a publication should be based on quality rather than journal prestige (or lack thereof). He emphasizes the importance of academia as a realm for the passionate scholar, rather than the careerist. Regarding shame, Cohen provides evidence published by Ithaka that although most scholars find research online, many still claim not to value open, online publishing as much as they value the status of a journal. And in a bid for academic narcissism, Cohen reminds his readers that open access publishing does in fact attract a much larger readership than toll access publishing does. Cohen suggests that the current scholarly communication system is broken and biased; that academics are committed to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge; that academics are not acting in their own self-interest; and that open access publishing is a much more effective mode of knowledge sharing.

¤ ElSabry, ElHassan. 2017. “Claims About Benefits of Open Access to Society (Beyond Academia).” In Expanding Perspectives on Open Science: Communities, Cultures and Diversity in Concepts and Practices. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Electronic Publishing, edited by Leslie Chan and Fernando Loizides. 34–43. Amsterdam: IOS Press Ebooks.

ElSabry studies the language used in open access declarations, policies, and editorials in order to ascertain which main reasons are given in open access advocacy. To do so, he studies a corpus of 164 of these sorts of documents. ElSabry concludes that journal editors are more prone to highlighting the benefits to authors (e.g., citation and professional impact), whereas governments and funding bodies tend to highlight broader and more abstract benefits to society.

¤ Eve, Martin Paul. 2014. Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The Open Access movement is often discussed in relation to the sciences only; Eve shifts the common rhetoric to focus on the humanities. Open access, Eve argues, is not only relevant to, but in fact crucial for, the humanities. Although the humanities and sciences differ in many ways, open access practices from the sciences can be translated and applied—as appropriate—for the humanities. To illustrate his thinking, Eve walks through the key arguments for and against open access in the humanities: publication, peer review, monographs, economics, and licenses. He admits that open access can be fraught in each of these areas, which makes large-scale implementation challenging. Eve suggests that a possible solution is an open access system in which major libraries come together to negotiate, buy, and make available published material; he also advocates for open, post-publication peer review and the overlay journal. Throughout, Eve implicitly advocates for a humanities-centred approach to open access.

+ Eve, Martin Paul. 2015. “Open Access Publishing and Scholarly Communication in Non-Scientific Disciplines.” Online Information Review 39 (5): 717–32.

Eve presents an overview of the current open access debate in non-scientific (STEM) disciplines, arguing that non-STEM disciplines have consistently lagged behind in their approach to open access policies and practices. He attributes this gap to a variety of economic and cultural factors, and argues that these specific challenges or objections have stunted the growth of open access in these disciplines. Eve suggests that his article is far too short and biased to do justice to the complexity of the issues he raises; however, it is his hope that the insights therein spur action and critical appraisal from the community at large. Academia needs to consider what is needed from a scholarly communications infrastructure and simultaneously build pragmatic and non-damaging transition strategies in order to utilize open access dissemination to its full advantage.

¤ Francabandera, Laura. 2020. “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Open Access and Intersectionality.” In Open Praxis, Open Access: Digital Scholarship in Action, edited by Darren Chase and Dana Haugh, 57–68. Chicago: American Library Association.

Francabandera questions whether the Open Access movement is truly an arbiter of social justice as has been claimed. She suggests that by taking an intersectional approach to assessing open access, one can see that the movement has far to go when it comes to equity. Francabandera bases this suggestion primarily on a study of the representation of Black women within open access research.

+ Fund, Sven. 2015a. “Will Open Access Change the Game?: Hypotheses on the Future Cooperation of Libraries, Researchers, and Publishers.” Bibliothek 39 (2): 206–9.

Fund insists that a study on the economic, social, and infrastructural impact of a major scholarly communication transition is needed, post-haste. He argues that the postsecondary system should proceed with caution when it comes to open access, as such a transition may have negative economic effects. Although physicists and other science communities have been sharing their work open access since the late 1980s, Fund considers the Open Access movement to be only a decade old, beginning with the signing of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003), and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003). Regardless of this truncated history, Fund comments that open access has the potential to become a disruptive technology, akin to those seen in software and hardware development over the last couple of decades.

¤ Harnad, Stevan. 2011. “Open Access Is a Research Community Matter, Not a Publishing Community Matter.” Lifelong Learning in Europe XVI (2): 117–18.

Harnad argues that green open access via repository deposit is the best path toward the widespread adoption and implementation of open access. He aims to convince researchers to self-archive or deposit their own output because publishers do not yet have enough impetus to commit wholly to open access. Harnad reminds his readers that publishers are supposed to be serving the academy, not the other way around.

+ Pinfield, Stephen. 2015b. “Making Open Access Work: The ‘State-of-the-Art’ in Providing Open Access to Scholarly Literature.” Online Information Review 39 (5): 604–36.

Twenty years into the movement, Pinfield examines the challenges that still plague open access scholarship. Despite the growth of open access, Pinfield asserts that barriers to universal acceptance remain, namely significant levels of disinterest, suspicion, and scepticism among researchers. Much of the debate amongst open access advocates and other people, he argues, assumes that different types of open access frameworks (like green versus gold) are rivals. The author believes that popular understanding of open access needs to be further developed and uses the Research Information Network’s 2014 report as a framework for understanding the problems of accessibility, availability, usage, and financial sustainability of open access publication. Overall, the key issue of open access is transforming policy into practice—it is not a question of whether or not information should be open, but rather a question of how.

+ Suber, Peter. 2004. “Open Access Overview.”

Suber presents an introduction to open access, which he defines as literature that is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright/licensing restrictions. The open access campaign allows authors to give access to information to the public without requiring any fees. In this same vein, many open access initiatives focus on publicly funded research. There are two types of open access: gold (open access journals) and green (open access repositories). Both types of open access are compatible with peer review and, in fact, peer review is insisted upon in many open access venues. Suber also sees open access as well-suited to copyright, revenue, print, preservation, prestige, quality, and career involvement. For Suber, open access is not a business model; it is a type of access that works to serve the interests of many diverse groups.

+ Suber, Peter. 2005. “Promoting Open Access in the Humanities.” Syllecta Classica 16: 231–46.

Suber examines how humanities and social science scholars can promote open access within their own disciplines. He identifies some of the roadblocks of open access publishing in the humanities and social sciences and proposes avenues that circumvent these barriers. Despite the Internet creating an opportunity for low-cost distribution of knowledge, the humanities and social sciences have been slow to take up open access practices. Suber argues that this is due to a number of factors: high cost of journals, low funding of research, high rejection rates of journals, low demand for open access (compared to the sciences), and copyright issues. He suggests that the following practices be used to navigate or circumnavigate these issues: use software to manage costs of peer review, do without copyeditors, encourage universities to pay processing fees, experiment with retroactive peer review, explore open access archiving, and publish open access books.

¤ Suber, Peter. 2010. “Thoughts on Prestige, Quality, and Open Access.” Logos 21 (1): 115–28.

Suber unpacks the relationship between prestige and journal publishing. He argues that, despite suggestions to the contrary, the institutional emphasis on prestige in the academy does not have to be a barrier to open access, which many feel is not as prestigious as toll access publishing. Prestige is not an obstacle to green open access, as authors may have the option to deposit pre- or post-prints of their toll access articles in repositories. But prestige is more of a challenge for gold open access, and Suber explains that many toll access journals are viewed as more prestigious simply because they have been established for longer, so have built up a standard of quality that is self-fulfilling. Some open access journals have also reached this degree of prestige, and more will as they age and become more established (and attract more authors). In the meantime, Suber suggests that universities re-assume the role of quality assurers, rather than allowing commercial publishers to suggest that research is of high quality due to its publication in (their) high-ranking journals.

¤ Suber, Peter. 2012. Open Access. MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Within the context of the transition to open access publishing models in the academy, Suber offers a general overview of what open access to research is. Such a transition requires the active support of university administrators, funding agencies, and policy writers, and Suber aims to provide these individuals with an easily digestible accounting of the movement. To reach this goal he provides a set of definitions, a survey of the field, and a quick, palatable argument for open access. Suber is not outwardly radical in his premise or approach, but he does call for a rethinking of scholarly production to benefit authors and readers rather than intermediaries.

¤ Suber, Peter. 2016. Knowledge Unbound: Selected Writings on Open Access, 2002–2011. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Suber collects a number of posts from his newsletter, which started as the “Free Online Scholarship Newsletter” and was renamed the “SPARC Open Access Newsletter” when Suber was hired by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in 2003. He provides a lengthy collection that spans over a decade of thinking and reporting on the Open Access movement. Primarily, Suber speaks on the American context, but he comments on happenings in Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom as well. He discusses a range of issues, including peer review, publisher negotiations, and the formation of the Open Access movement. Overall Suber sheds light on the development and legacy of the Open Access movement.

Tennant, Jonathan P. 2016. “The Academic, Economic and Societal Impacts of Open Access: An Evidence-Based Review.” F1000Research.

Noting that open access has become a pressing issue worldwide but that little consensus exists about its benefits and drawbacks, Tennant, Waldner, Jacques, Masuzzo, Collister, and Hartgerink synthesize research on its academic, economic, and societal impacts and present a brief history of the Open Access movement. Benefits to academics include greater access to research and greater impact as measured through citation counts (although this citation advantage varies widely by discipline) and altmetrics. Open access also enables text and data mining, which allows researchers to synthesize findings at scale, scan the literature for errors, and streamline literature searches. Economic impacts are felt primarily by publishers, who bear the costs associated with publishing research. Many alternative publishing models have arisen, including the pay-to-publish model, which levies article processing charges and is a widespread alternative to the traditional subscription model, but article processing charges can put at a disadvantage early career researchers, those in lower income countries, and those without research funding. Examining the societal impacts of open access emphasizes that research has value beyond academia, such as for businesses, research and development departments, and medical patients. Access to knowledge is widely regarded as a human right, and many have argued that publicly funded research should be publicly available. The authors note that open access is part of the larger Open Science movement, which also comprises open data. They conclude with the finding that most researchers would publish their work open access if funders or employers required them to do so but emphasize that open access is a complex issue within the equally complex system of scholarly publishing.

Tickell, Adam. 2018. “Open Access to Research Publications 2018: Independent Advice” (June).

Tickell evaluates the current state of open access in the UK and offers recommendations for advancing it, building upon a similar set of advice published in 2016 intended to enact recommendations in a 2012 report by Janet Finch (see Finch et al. 2012). Tickell notes that the UK is a world leader in open access, partly because its transition began early, in 2004, and partly because of open access mandates from Research Councils UK and the Research Excellent Framework (REF). However, the current strategy of preferring gold open access over green seems unsustainable in the face of ever-increasing article processing charge (APC) costs, and publishing models have not transformed to the extent expected. His recommendations for research funders include continuing to fund the transition to open access, developing a national open access policy, and monitoring progress regularly. He calls upon university and agency leaders to develop institutional open access policies and engage with journal negotiations fully and transparently. He calls on Jisc to consider licensing and copyright and persistent identifiers as well as other ways of reducing administrative burden. Finally, he recommends that Universities UK continues to support working groups to develop solutions for open access monographs, standards for gold open access services, and open access repositories, and that all stakeholders should continue working together to further open access in the UK.

+ Willinsky, John. 2003. “The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing.” Journal of Postgraduate Medicine 49 (3): 263–67.

Willinsky delves into the digital life of scholarly journals that was sparked approximately 340 years after their inception in print. He states that in 2000, nearly 75% of journals had online editions, and nearly 1,000 peer-reviewed journals appeared only in digital form. The ease of accessing information is unprecedented; institutions, however, are simply unable to keep up with their own production of published research—no university can afford to provide access to all information. Willinsky turns to open access by first arguing that it is not a single economic model but rather a collection of economic models that fit different situations. He concludes by categorizing and detailing what he refers to as the nine viable flavours of open access scholarly publishing: e-print archive, unqualified open access journal, dual mode, delayed open access, fee-based edition, partial open access, per-capita open access, open access lite, and cooperative access.

+ Willinsky, John. 2006. The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Electronic resource. Digital Libraries and Electronic Publishing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Within the context of inequitable access to knowledge and rising journal subscription costs, Willinsky aims to make a compelling case for open access. He focuses on scholarly journals, in particular, but he does consider the larger scholarly production ecosystem as well. Willinsky argues that knowledge is a public good, and as such the public should have unequivocal access to it. He paints a picture of inequitable global access to research, which effectively widens the wealth and knowledge gap between developing and developed nations. Overall, Willinsky posits open access as a more just and fair choice for scholarly knowledge production, citing its role in facilitating shared decision-making between experts and non-experts.

+ Xu, Guan-Hua. 2007. “Open Access to Scientific Data: Promoting Science and Innovation.” Data Science Journal 6 (17): 21–25.

Xu details open access policies for scientific data in China. In 2002, the Ministry of Science and Technology launched the Scientific Data Sharing program, with 24 participating government agencies. The government of China is expecting to make 80% of scientific research data available to the general public through the program. Xu notes that relevant laws and regulations need to be established and authentic data resources need to be further integrated. The author maintains that China is committed to the policy of reform and making information more readily available, especially with regard to shared and open data.

Open Data

+ Geiger, Christian P., and Jorn von Lucke. 2012. “Open Government and (Linked) (Open) (Government) (Data).” EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government 4 (2): 265–78.

Geiger and von Lucke explore free usage of stored public sector data. The authors state that it is not enough to simply put data online; data need to be considered and weighed, and a determination must be made regarding if and where the data can be published. Geiger and von Lucke describe different types of machine readable and open formats for data. The Open Data movement currently faces difficulty with different national and international laws about access and transparency. The authors argue that a fair balance between the interests of individual authors, publishers, and the general public must be reached. Misinterpretation by third parties, as well as the structure and culture of the public sector, are further difficulties faced by open data directives. Administrations and individual actors should cooperate with each other to achieve sustainability of open government data communities.

+ Gray, Jonathan. 2015. “Five Ways Open Data Can Boost Democracy around the World.” The Guardian (February 20).

Gray provides information on the amount of public resource spending on goods and services per year and how open data can improve political standards. He argues that open data policies can help protect public resources and expenditures, control corporate lobbyists, fight pollution, and hold politicians accountable. He provides evidence of dozens of parliamentary monitoring websites, which are often built by civic hackers to track speeches and votes and to hold politicians accountable to voters. Open data is commensurate with democratic values for Gray, and incorporating such policies will allow for the development of increasingly open and accountable democracies worldwide.

+ Gurstein, Michael B. 2011. “Open Data: Empowering the Empowered or Effective Data Use for Everyone?” First Monday 16 (2).

Gurstein is supportive of the open data project but maintains that the impact on poor and marginalized communities must be investigated. Policy should ensure that there is a wide basis of opportunity for effective data use. He uses Solly Benjamin’s research on the impact of digitization of land records in Bangalore as evidence of the potential for land surveyors, lawyers, and other high-ranking officials to exploit gaps in titles, take advantage of mistakes in documentation, and identify opportunities and targets for crimes. Gurstein creates a seven-point framework for making effective use of open data. This should be combined with training on computer/software use, accessible formatting of datasets, interpretation training, and a supportive advocacy network for the community.

+ Janssen, Katleen. 2012. “Open Government Data and the Right to Information: Opportunities and Obstacles.” The Journal of Community Informatics 8 (2).

Janssen provides an overview of the current discussion on open government data and the right to information. She argues that the Open Government Data movement and the Right to Information movement have close ties in their promotion of access to government information as a fundamental right and for greater availability of data held by government bodies. Janssen argues that access to government information is a key component of any transparency and accountability process for government activities. Transparency results in better-informed citizens who can contribute to governmental processes and express meaningful views with regards to government policy. Janssen concludes that the two movements should be seen as complementary and argues that they can promote each other through legislation. For example, the European Commission’s 2011 open data strategy promoted open data as indispensable for a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy, and as a strategy to increase accountability.

+ Janssen, Marijn, Yannis Charalabidis, and Anneke Zuiderwijk. 2012. “Benefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government.” Information Systems Management 29 (4): 258–68.

Janssen, Charalabidis, and Zuiderwijk provide a political analogue to many of the barriers preventing true, open data publication. Open government demands that the government give up control and that the public sector undergo considerable transformation. The authors use systems theory to draw attention to the distinctions between systems that are open to their environment and systems that are closed. The authors deem several points of open access rhetoric as myth: that publicizing data will yield benefits, that all information should be unrestrictedly publicized, that publishing public data is the whole of the task, and that every constituent can make use of open data. Finally, the myth that open data will result in open government is refuted. Janssen, Charalabidis, and Zuiderwijk suggest that open data only becomes valuable through use and that research demands more inquiry into the conversion of public data into services of public value.

+ Johnson, Jeffrey Alan. 2014. “From Open Data to Information Justice.” Ethics and Information Technology 16 (4): 263–74.

Johnson argues that scholarly discussions of information justice should subsume the question of open data. His article examines the embedding of social privilege in datasets, the different capabilities of data users, and the norms that data systems impose through disciplinary functions. For Johnson, open data has potential to exacerbate rather than alleviate social injustices. Data sovereignty should trump open data and active pro-social countermeasures need to be taken to ensure ethical practices. Johnson calls for information pluralism, which would embrace, rather than problematize, the messiness of data. He argues that an information justice movement is vital for drumming up the participation necessary to make information pluralism a reality. Johnson calls for further inquiry into how existing social structures are perpetuated, exacerbated, and mitigated by information systems.

+ Kalampokis, Evangelos, Efthimios Tambouris, and Konstantinos Tarabanis. 2011. “Open Government Data: A Stage Model.” In 10th IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference, EGOV 2011, 235–46. Delft, Netherlands: Springer.

Kalampokis, Tambouris, and Tarabinis create a stage model for open government data in this article. For the authors, governments have a mandate to enable and facilitate data consumption by both citizens and businesses. A lack of information on available data poses considerable difficulty to the field. The objective of this article is to supplement existing eGovernment stage models by providing a roadmap for open government data re-use and enabling evaluation of relevant initiatives. The stage model is made up of four parts: aggregation of government data, integration of that data, integration of government data with formal non-government data, and integration of government data with formal and social non-government data. Public agencies are advised to make their data easily and quickly available online. The authors recommend that open government data initiatives should be thoroughly studied to identify important data sets for each stage of the model to be identified.

+ Shadbolt, Nigel, Kieron O’Hara, Tim Berners-Lee, Nicholas Gibbins, Hugh Glaser, Wendy Hall, and M. C. Schraefel. 2012. “Linked Open Government Data: Lessons from Data.Gov.Uk.” IEEE Intelligent Systems 27 (3): 16–24.

Shadbolt, O’Hara, Berners-Lee, Gibbins, Glasner, Hall, and Schraefel present their findings from the website and its approach to open data management. They argue that the top-down political culture creates a data monopoly. Transparency in the UK is focused on, which is a public data catalogue with thousands of downloadable datasets under permissive open government license. The adoption of open government data is important for the linked data web, which can enhance the data discovery processes. The authors suggest that geography provides an intuitive way of aligning datasets.

Open Education

* Caswell, Tom, Shelley Henson, Marion Jensen, and David Wiley. 2008. “Open Content and Open Educational Resources: Enabling Universal Education.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 9 (1).

Caswell et al. explore how open content and open educational resources (OERs) in general, and the OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative in particular, are transforming distance education and putting into practice the universal right to education. OpenCourseWare is a program that has been initiated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to make the materials for its courses freely available on the Internet. The authors argue that with technical tools to overcome distance issues and hence reduce the costs of content reproduction and distribution to almost zero, the Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can finally become a reality. They rely on David Wiley’s work to state that if sharing information and knowledge can bring people out of poverty, it is a moral obligation to do so. Caswell et al. also note some challenges for sustaining OERs, such as copyright and funding issues. Furthermore, the authors suggest that OpenCourseWare should follow the Open Source movement in terms of working in a community in order to maintain sustainability.

* Conole, Gráinne, and Mark Brown. 2018. “Reflecting on the Impact of the Open Education Movement.” Journal of Learning for Development—JL4D 5 (3): 187–203.

Conole and Brown analyze the impacts of the open education movement with respect to teaching, learning, and researching. The authors point out some barriers and benefits of open educational resources (OERs), mainly regarding their pedagogies and uses. They include a literature review that covers the movement in its various aspects, including the development of open textbooks and massive open online courses (MOOCs), learning design frameworks, open digital identity, open networking practices, and open publishing. Conole and Brown consider that OERs should be seen more as a new form of educational practice instead of just as free resources; MOOCs should be seen as vehicles for transformation and innovation rather than marketing devices; and e-textbooks should be seen as new forms of pedagogy and an innovative use of digital technology instead of as merely a mechanism to reduce costs.

* Ehlers, Ulf-Daniel. 2011. “Extending the Territory: From Open Educational Resources to Open Educational Practices.” Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning 15 (2): 1–10.

Ehlers points out that the Open Education movement has already achieved its first goal of opening up resources and making them available. The author suggests that there is a need to shift to the next phase, which raises new challenges related to promoting quality and innovation in teaching and learning. He argues that besides open educational resources (OERs), they should support more open educational practices (OEPs), which can be assessed in terms of learning architecture, OER usage, and individual and organizational involvement. Based on the Open Educational Quality Initiative Report on more than 65 international case studies, Ehlers proposes a framework for supporting open educational practices with indicators to assess an organization’s position in the OEP trajectory, its vision of openness and strategies for OEPs, and its implementation and promotion of OEPs to transform learning. Finally, he points out that these indicators can help organizations to shift from the phase of just using OERs to the phase of engaging with open educational practices.

* Haßler, Björn, and Alan M. Jackson. 2010. “Bridging the Bandwidth Gap: Open Educational Resources and the Digital Divide.” IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 3 (2): 110–15.

Haßler and Jackson discuss the digital divide implications in the access to open educational resources (OERs), considering them in terms of availability and cost of Internet bandwidth. They argue that developing countries in the Global South have in general lower physical bandwidths and that Internet connectivity in these locations is much more expensive, which makes open online resources unusable for their communities. The authors use the Content Delivery Chain model as a framework to propose ways for promoting more accessible resources, suggesting that content should be made available in multiple formats (lower-resolution videos, lower bit-rate audios, transcript texts) with links to large-content files, rather than having them embedded. Haßler and Jackson also recommend the implementation of mirror copies of OER websites to allow faster access within local area networks. Moreover, they encourage users in low-bandwidth contexts to contribute more resources and adaptations to the global community, improving sharing from South to North and from South to South. Finally, they point out that their claim is not to underutilize the Internet where it has greater potential and create a lowest common denominator Internet; rather, the authors advocate for alternative pathways that address different contexts.

¤ Jhangiani, Rajiv Sunil. 2017. “Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER Advocacy.” Open Praxis 9 (2): 141–50.

Jhangiani comments on the divide in the open education community between pragmatic and idealistic approaches to open educational resources (OERs). The pragmatists argue that OERs should be widely adopted because of the tangible, financial benefits for students; the idealists argue that they represent an opportunity for radical pedagogy. Jhangiani argues that, in fact, a hybrid approach is necessary. Divisiveness will not further the movement, to Jhangiani’s eyes; rather, open education advocates must present an argument that both acknowledges the significant cost benefit of OERs and incorporates opportunities for more experimental learning.

* Jones, Christopher. 2015b. “Openness, Open Educational Resources and the University.” In Networked Learning: An Educational Paradigm for the Age of Digital Networks, 120–24. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Jones explains the concept of networked learning and presents opinions regarding open educational resources from different scientists. He claims that the main feature of networked learning is the connection between students, learning communities, and learning resources. He argues that a benefit of the use of digital technologies is that it’s possible to copy and share materials without paying any charges. Usually, the creation of OERs happens at universities, as they are predominant educational and scientific centres. Apart from the benefits of OERs, he also points to their disadvantages, including the limited outcomes of open production processes and the mass consumption of openly produced products. He concludes that through development, production will move into practices in such a way that OERs should change to open educational practices.

Δ Mourik Broekman, Pauline van, Gary Hall, Ted Byfield, Shaun Hides, and Simon Worthington. 2015. Open Education: A Study in Disruption. London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield International.

Van Mourik Broekman et al. provide a critical examination of the open education trend, with a focus on the United Kingdom. The authors consider the capitalist model and neoliberal ramifications of open education, as well as its creative possibilities. They argue that open education has the power to displace mid-sized universities through a process of outsourcing instructional labour, lessening the importance of students being physically present on a campus, building global university systems akin to industrial mergers, and defunding infrastructural and human resources costs related to bricks-and-mortar institutions. Van Mourik Broekman et al. also argue that open education, as it is developing en masse in North America, will not necessarily benefit the world’s general population, as it is purported to do; rather, it will line the pockets of academic-aligned corporations that are already making substantial profits at the expense of academic institutions.

* Orr, Dominic, Michele Rimini, and Dirk van Damme. 2015. Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation, Educational Research and Innovation. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Orr, Remini, and van Damme provide a definition of open educational resources (OERs), describe general characteristics, and compare OERs with other educational innovations. They argue that OERs can improve the learning process for students and help teachers gain new professional knowledge, and emphasize the importance of these resources’ educational purpose. The authors claim that the effectiveness of OERs is determined by the ways they are used in the educational environment. They present the results of a survey that collected responses from 33 countries, the aim of which was to reveal the most important arguments in support of OER production and use. The results showed that in most of the participating countries, respondents consider improved teaching and learning to be the major argument for the enactment of OER-related policies. Moreover, the study found that even countries without a national policy for OERs are active in policy support at regional, institutional, or some other level. Finally, the authors conclude that the government should encourage the integration of OERs into an educational environment, because it overcomes educational challenges.

* Wiley, David, T. J. Bliss, and Mary McEwen. 2014. “Open Educational Resources: A Review of the Literature.” In Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, edited by J. Michael Spector, M. David Merrill, Jan Elen, and M. J. Bishop, 781–89. New York: Springer.

Wiley, Bliss, and McEwen review the definitions and major research categories of open educational resources (OERs) in the literature. They explain that there are many different definitions, the most frequent of which consider its openness in terms of cost and licensing, and that the majority of researchers concentrate on models of sharing, models of producing, benefits, and challenges associated with them. Based on the literature review, the authors summarize OERs as “educational materials which use a Creative Commons license or which exist in the public domain and are free of copyright” (783), allowing users to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (4Rs). Finally, as the main challenges, Wiley, Bliss and McEwen enumerate the problems of discovery (how to make open educational resources easier for people to find), sustainability (how to make them self-sustainable), quality (how to deal with the perception that OERs have inferior quality because of being free), localization (how to make them more useful in a diversity of contexts), and remix (how to make more common the exercise of revision and modification permissions). In addition, they point out that the emergence of open educational resources demands the development of open assessment resources for which there is still little research available.

Open Knowledge

+ Molloy, Jennifer. 2011. “The Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Means Better Science.” PLoS Biology 9 (12): 1–4.

Molloy stipulates that implementing open data allows for initiatives within science-related disciplines to provide new infrastructure that supports data archiving and the development of stronger data management policies. The author suggests that there is little value in making data open and accessible if it is not being used. Molloy provides evidence from a recent collaboration between the Open Data in Science working group, the Joint Information Services Council and Semantic Web Applications, and Tools for Life Sciences in creating collections of open publications and datasets through available bibliographic data and crowdsourced summaries of non-open content. An accessible open data approach within the sciences will allow the disciplines to generate a wealth of tools, apps, and datasets that will facilitate the discovery and re-circulation of data.

+ Rosenzweig, Roy. 2006. “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.” The Journal of American History 93 (1): 117–46.

Rosenzweig claims that the field of open source software development is notoriously individualistic. He notes that only 6% of over 32,000 scholarly works indexed since 2000 have more than one author, and less than 2% have three or more authors. Rosenzweig argues that the cooperation and freedom of Wikipedia have transformed it into the most important demonstration of the principles of free and open source software movement. He discusses Wikipedia as both a tool for historiography as well as how it can be understood as an expression of history itself. According to the author, professional historians should pay attention to Wikipedia because students do. Wikipedia and Linux demonstrate that there are alternative models to produce encyclopedias and software other than the hierarchical, commercial model represented by Microsoft.

+ Vandendorpe, Christian. 2012. “Wikisource and the Scholarly Book.” Scholarly and Research Communication 3 (4). 10.22230/src.2012v3n4a58

Vandendorpe contemplates Wikisource, a project of the Wikimedia foundation, as a potential platform for reading and editing scholarly books. He comes to this conclusion after considering what the ideal e-book or digital knowledge environment should look like. For Vandendorpe, this artifact must be available on the web; reflect the metaphor of a forest of knowledge, rather than a container; situate the reader at the centre of the experience; and be open, reliable, robust, and expandable. Wikisource, the author concludes, has the potential to meet these criteria. Vandendorpe highlights that Wikisource enables quality editing and robust versioning, and has various display options. He also outlines areas of development for Wikisource to become an ideal candidate for hosting the aforementioned type of knowledge creation.

† Vandendorpe, Christian. 2015. “Wikipedia and the Ecosystem of Knowledge.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3).

Vandendorpe argues for the broad uptake of Wikipedia across the academy, contending that researchers need to edit on Wikipedia and to share their specialized knowledge with the rest of the world. In this way, Vandendorpe argues, scholars can easily share their findings broadly and publicly. He emphasizes online, popular, and open access environments in the growing media ecology that supports scholarly communication. Vandendorpe champions the opportunities afforded by serious academic engagement with Wikipedia.

+ Willinsky, John. 2007. “What Open Access Research Can Do for Wikipedia.” First Monday 12 (3).

Willinsky interrogates the degree to which Wikipedia entries cite or reference scholarship, and whether this research is generally available to readers in open access format. The author is interested in whether contributors are taking advantage of the growing amount of open access research available to them. To study this, Willinsky randomly selected 100 Wikipedia entries, which reference 168 resources. Of those 168 resources, only 2% point to open access scholarly research. Given these findings, Willinsky argues that more can be done to enhance Wikipedia, and to bolster the current state of knowledge provided by the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia, Willinsky argues, should be used as a platform to springboard open access initiatives and circulate materials in an accessible way for the entire Internet community. If the platform were to become more of an entry point, researchers and scholars would have greater motivation to make their work open access.

Open Source

+ Rosen, Lawrence. 2004. Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Rosen’s book on open source software licenses details the legal frameworks for open source licenses and the intellectual property rights they are governed by. The author provides a definition and history of intellectual property and definitions of software freedom and open source. The following chapters include taxonomies of different license types, a discussion of academic licenses, and a chapter on the GNU general public license, which helped create a large public commons of software that is freely available to everyone worldwide. Rosen then discusses Mozilla licenses, common public licenses, IBM’s relation to open source development, and how an open source software firm can choose an open source license—as well as a guide to open standards. The appendices include the documents to which Rosen refers throughout the monograph in order to provide additional context.

+ Weber, Steven. 2004. The Success of Open Source. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Weber’s book-length study surveys the success of software and source code that is freely distributed. He discusses how property underpins the social organization of cooperation and production in the digital era, and how older models of production can no longer be followed in the advent of the success of systems such as Linux and Apache. The success of open source software in this highly competitive industry subverts several assumptions about how software firms should be run, as well as the distribution and circulation of product. Weber discusses the history of open source in addition to basic definitions of the field and its methods of distribution, circulation, and production. The interactions between open source software and the disciplines of business and law are also examined, with Weber suggesting that these have all changed drastically with the advent of open source code distribution.

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