Openness, Politics and Power
Amyluv's bookmarks 2017-12-17
"In this chapter I consider the range of political interpretations that have been placed upon “open access” to academic research. This stretches from those, like Jeffrey Beall, who condemn the phenomenon as a mode of “collectivizing production and denying the freedom of the press from those who prefer the subscription model of scholarly publishing”, to those, such as John Holmwood, who see a danger in OA of neoliberal appropriation and re-enclosure (Beall 2013; Holmwood 2013b; Holmwood 2013a). I also examine the ways in which open access to reading can facilitate a co-productive mode of open access to writing; a mass intellectuality. Indeed, it strikes me that open access may be a fundamental historical pre-requisite for a mass intellectuality, in which a society-wide and disciplinarily ambiguous co-production and mutual harnessing of intellectual labour – wheresoever it may be found – can become possible. Beginning from a description of the forms of open access, I note that there are intrinsic power motivations at play in the enforcement of OA mandates, often linked to corporate finance, and that, at this particular historical moment, it is possible to effect apolitical interpretations, socialist interpretations and capitalist interpretations of the movement. Like many social changes engendered by the internet – and while eschewing technological fetishism (Sayre 2005) – I also argue that it is very difficult to predict the outcomes, even if one group's intentions are clear. From this diagnosis, I next move to suggest the ways in which those with a democratic outlook on mass intellectuality can take a role of intellectual leadership – through innovative experimentation – to act to decouple the potentially dangerous side-effects of OA from its liberating potential: an upending of traditional hierarchies of research universities based purely on extant accumulated capital. Finally, I note that OA on its own is not enough, amid radical projects, to re-think the hierarchies and divisions of labour, but that it can be a useful tool along that road, so long as proponents are vigilant for the dangers of recuperation and co-option."