Analysis & counterpointsOpen access to scholarly knowledge

Open access to scholarly knowledge in the digital era (section 6): Global communities

This article introduces section 6 of a series of articles summarising the book Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access.

The last section of the series is dedicated to ideas of community and global community in scholarly communication paradigms.

6.1 – The ethics of care in open-access publishing

The sixth section opens with Eileen A. Joy asking how might certain forms of academic publishing, especially scholar-led, community-owned, open-access platforms, and presses, help to enable better forms of institutional life conducive to personal flourishing and the increase of public knowledge, especially at a time when universities are swarming with managerial technocrats invested in privatizing and outsourcing higher education, students are saddled with staggering levels of debt, and the casualization of academic labor is at an all-time high?

6.2 – A developing region perspective on global open access

Care, integration, and thought must be considered not just in local realms but also at the international level. Dominique Babini continues this theme in her chapter, noting the preconditions for success in South America to work on a global scale. While acknowledging the challenges, Babini details the work of CLACSO and other organizations in crafting a system of scholarly communications that caters for multiple audiences and addresses, systemically, access challenges both inside and outside of the academy.

6.3 – The future of learned societies in a world of open access

On matters of communality, Jane Winters asks, in her chapter, about the future of learned societies in a world of open access, particularly in the United Kingdom. Winters notes that, for a substantial period of time now, “there has been no need to question or perhaps really even to think about the role of the learned society as publisher” but that this is changing below our very feet. In her chapter, Winters addresses the future of Societies in both economic and social terms but also points toward helpful early experiments in open practice from organizations that have, traditionally, been less enthusiastic about open access, such as the Royal Historical Society.

6.4 – Toward open, sustainable research communities

Finally, Kathleen Fitzpatrick brings her expertise of working at the head of a large scholarly society—the Modern Language Association—to discuss the ways in which such entities can resist the constant commercialization of platforms in recent years. Partly leading on from Andrews’s previous chapter and partly documenting the creation of MLA Core and Commons, Fitzpatrick fuses a theoretical and practical approach to building an open future for scholarly communications in the humanities disciplines.

Next part (chapter 6.1): The ethics of care in open-access publishing.

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.


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

Bruce Boyes ( is a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and education professional with over 30 years of experience in Australia and China. His work has received high-level acclaim and been recognised through a number of significant awards. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. He is also the editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and teaches in the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) Certified High-school Program (CHP).

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