Open Access and the Humanities

So often in discussions about open access to scholarship, there is an implication that OA is for STEM, and that the products of humanities scholarship are fundamentally different somehow and therefore not appropriate for openness. I want to explore this (mis?)perception in a talk session about openness in the humanities. I’m most interested in the perspectives of practicing humanists, but also in the experiences of other librarians who’ve struggled to convince their humanities faculty to get their work out from behind the paywall. My goal isn’t to change anyone’s mind, but rather to have a fruitful discussion in a collaborative environment about the challenges humanists perceive from the OA movement, and brainstorm ways in which we (librarians and scholarly communications staff) can make scholarly communication programs work for humanities scholars.

Feel free to tweet at me if you have any suggestions for the session @joshbolick

Categories: Libraries, Open Access, Publishing, Session: Talk, Tenure and Promotion |

About Josh Bolick

I have an undergraduate degree from UNCW in history and philosophy/religion, and a masters in library and information studies from FSU. I currently work in Strozier Library at FSU on scholarly communication. I'm interested in the new insights that become possible when we apply tech to humanities projects, and in the ways that digital humanities can relate scholarship back to the funding public.

5 Responses to Open Access and the Humanities

  1. Thanks so much for proposing this session. OA and copyright are foundational issues in DH and humanities writ large. Long overdue conversation.

  2. This is definitely an overdue conversation and an important one, and I’m glad that you tagged this with the realpolitik label “Tenure and Promotion.” I’d like to hear what the various stakeholders’ perspectives are on the apparent prestige gap between open-access and traditional journals; I’ve heard scholars say that the open-access journals tend to lack the prestige necessary for progressing in their careers. This seems especially so in Europe, where the ERIH has institutionalized prestige by ranking journals, with most of the OA ones stuck at level C/NAT, which ambitious scholars tend to avoid except for niche studies. At the same time, the paywall of traditional publishing acts as a barrier keeping (the best, given prestige factors) scholarship from reaching its fullest potential for impact outside the Ivory Tower, since humanity can’t afford to access the Humanities. Is there a way to leverage the benefits of wider accessibility to raise the prestige of open access publishing?

    • Josh says:

      Miller, you raise some interesting points and questions. I have some ideas that address some of that (prestige, impact outside Ivory Tower), but I hope other ideas and perspectives emerge from this talk. See you in the session!

  3. Christine Fruin says:

    As further evidence of the conflict between open access and the humanities, a report from the British Academy today claiming that the RCUK open access policy poses “serious dangers for the international standing of UK research in the humanities.”

    Times Higher Education story:

    For the full report:

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