Open access to scholarly knowledge in the digital eraOpinion

Open access to scholarly knowledge in the digital era (section 2): Knowledge cultures

This article introduces section 2 of a series of articles summarising the book Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access.

The four chapters of the second section of this series focus on knowledge cultures; the ways in which we think about knowledge itself, and how this shapes our understandings of digital and open transformations of research publishing.

2.1 – Insights for today from the historical origins of modern copyright

Turning back to the Statute of Anne from 1710, John Willinsky details the ways in which the original purpose of copyright — in the encouragement of learning — has been lost. He asks if we can we once again find the advantages for learning among the play of scholarly publishing commercial interests, knowing that this was the original intent of copyright law and is no less worthy a goal today?

2.2 – How does a format make a public?

Robin de Mourat, Donato Ricci, and Bruno Latour explore how different scholarly formats can be used to embark on new ways of gathering collectives of scholars and practitioners around an area of research interest. In doing so, they draw on the experiences of their project An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (AIME). They describe the collectives of scholars and practitioners as “transdisciplinary publics.”

2.3 – The evolving role of readers in peer review

David Pontille and Didier Torny look at the emergence of new arrangements between dissemination and validation in peer review, and how they are being shaped by citation, commenting, sharing, and examining. These technologies have existed for a long time, but are now being more and more treated as integral to open peer review.

2.4 – The making of empirical knowledge – recipes, craft, and scholarly communication

Finally for the section on knowledge cultures, Pamela H. Smith, Tianna Helena Uchacz, Naomi Rosenkranz, and Claire Conklin Sabel revisit our historical assumptions about epistemology and science in the light of their openly accessible web project. Indeed, Smith and colleagues draw our attention to the way in which early scientific experiments were conducted by Renaissance artists, historians, and humanists, blurring the distinctions between humanistic and scientific practices, but also focusing on the transmission of this knowledge and the genealogies of craft dissemination. Smith and colleagues achieve this by documenting their project— the Making of Empirical Knowledge — and the finds that they there unearth.

Next part (chapter 2.1): Insights for today from the historical origins of modern copyright.

Article source: This article is an edited summary drawn from the Introduction of the book Reassembling scholarly communications: Histories, infrastructures, and global politics of Open Access1 which has been published by MIT Press under a CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license.

Article license: This article is published under a CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license.

Reference:

  1. Eve, M. P., & Gray, J. (Eds.) (2020). Reassembling scholarly communications: Histories, infrastructures, and global politics of Open Access. MIT Press.

Also published on Medium.

Reassembling Scholarly Communications

Edited by Martin Paul Eve and Jonathan Gray, the MIT Press volume "Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access" carries out a critical inquiry into the politics, practices, and infrastructures of open access and the reconfiguration of scholarly communication in digital societies. This RealKM Magazine article series presents edited summaries of the volume chapters prepared by RealKM Magazine editor and lead writer Bruce Boyes.

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