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Martin Paul Eve: Open Access and the Humanities -- Reimagining Our Future

Martin Paul Eve is a lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln. His work focuses on American 20th and 21st–century fiction in addition to thinking about mutations in scholarly publishing in the academic humanities. @martin_eve

When it comes to open access in the humanities, it does not feel, to many, as though they were born open or are achieving openness but, rather, that they are having openness violently thrust upon them.

Although the open access movement has been going strong for 10 years and has had good take-up in certain scientific disciplines, such as physics, the humanities currently lack the infrastructure and funding mechanisms needed to support the transition period triggered by RCUK's (Research Councils UK) mandate. Amid erroneous circulations of fear uncertainty and doubt surrounding open licensing, the whole setup appears anarchic and shambolic to many who just want to buckle down and write their research.

While, then, many are digging their heels in, kicking and screaming, or even just more quietly worrying about the potential destruction of tried-and-tested scholarly communications systems, other groups of activists in the humanities – and also forward-thinking commercial academic publishers – are seizing the bull by the horns, seeing either an ethical imperative to openly disseminate work that would otherwise remain accessible to a relatively privileged few, or the need to change in order to salvage their business models. For these groups, the time is for praxis and their solutions are workable responses to the objections raised....

Read entire article at Guardian (UK)