Joy in OA

This post also appears on Platypus, the Humanities Commons team blog.

As a librarian, I think a lot about how to ensure access to information of all kinds. Prior to joining the Humanities Commons team, I spent almost 10 years in scholarly publishing, and I grew increasingly concerned about the sustainability of current publishing models. There is a growing barrier to access for many who are not affiliated with institutions or who are at institutions that simply can’t afford the increasing subscriptions in the current market. 

For me, the joy in OA is bringing information to everyone, regardless of position and financial means. OA allows everyone equal access to information, and at the same time it empowers everyone to disseminate their work widely. OA levels the playing field. It connects global collaborators, and it allows those who want to research and create to build on the work that has come before. 

Scholarship is becoming increasingly multimodal. Undergraduate students in the humanities are taught not just writing, but often work with audio, video, and video games. As these formats continue to grow journals and monographs won’t disappear, but they will come under increasing competition for views. OA offers these students and scholars the ability to share their work widely when many publishers simply can’t find a way to publish these new formats. My joy at this moment is being a part of the Commons and working to think about not just what’s happening now, but how we can support these new formats in the future. 


I’ve been thinking…

and that’s dangerous. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to say here. That means I haven’t said anything, because I’ve gotten stuck in the thinking part.

I’d like to talk a bit about what it’s like to manage large digital projects and platforms that are unlike what have come before. There are no guidelines, no roadmap, and no formal system that’s a perfect fit.

I’m planning to talk about the challenges, the joy, and the real work that it takes to work collaboratively with a team. Thinking through the implications of what seem on the surface to be small decisions that end up having large ripple effects. Talking about the struggle to identify your values and to enact them, and the mistakes made along the way.

I hope you’ll come with me. I can’t promise to be prolific, but I hope to use this space to create dialogue and to think through what it means to do this work.