Radical Open Access and Care

radical open accessAt the end of June the 2nd Radical Open Access Conference on The Ethics of Care, took place at Coventry University, 2 days of panels, amazing talks and critical discussion about creating a more diverse and equitable future for open access. This free conference, organised by The Post Office, a research project of the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, was collaboratively curated by 7 members and friends of the Radical Open Access Collective: Culture Machine, Mattering Press (and Samuel Moore), Memory of the World, meson press, Open Humanities Press, Post Office Press and punctum books. The speakers’ papers were published as pamphlets (1 pamphlet for each panel) which were made available during the conference in open access via the Humanities Commons platform, where print versions were sold by Rope Press (our wonderful riso printer/publisher) as part of a bookstand they set up to support their charity, the International New School.




A second bookstand was run by the OpenAire New Platforms project, a consortium of 6 scholar-led presses (also members of the ROAC) who have designed a prototype for a collective non-competitive book stand and conference presence, which included print version of their OA books, a ‘book of books’ display, in which the front and reverse covers of all books were available to pick up and browse, as well as a ‘book of books’ USB device, on which all the books from the consortium were available for rapid transfer to attendees’ computers. The stand also provided information about open access, and organised several short talks in the conference breaks around current open access projects.

The conference looked at the ways in which open access is being rendered further complicit with neoliberalism’s audit culture of evaluation, measurement, impact and accountability. As such it explored how we can move away from the market-driven incentives that are frequently used to justify open access, to focus instead on the values that underpin many of the radical open access community’s experiments in open publishing and scholarly communication. In particular, it examined how an ethics of care can help to counter the calculative logic that otherwise permeates academic publishing. This was explored in panels on topics as diverse as: Predatory Publishing; The Geopolitics of Open; Competition and Cooperation; Humane Metrics/Metrics Noir; Guerrilla Open Access; The Poethics of Scholarship; and The Commons and Care.

The conference papers were all recorded and live-streamed and will be made available afterwards via archive.org. The conference saw some lively Twitter interaction and discussion via the hashtag #radicaloa2. Two blogposts reflecting on and summarising ROA2 have also been posted here and here (thank you Gareth and Ruth!). A request was made afterwards by attendees to turn this into a yearly event for the community, which could also travel to different locations, something which we are going to explore! We would like to thank all the speakers, co-curators and attendees for a wonderful conference and hopefully an ongoing discussion about the pressing issues it has brought forward.



Coventry University