Gaz J Johnson, Nottingham Trent Univers...
• Explain my interest in this field
• Examine the rationale and approach to the research
• Consider the affect of...
• Current UK environment has brought scholarly dissemination issues into sharp focus
• Ongoing serials price cr...
• Research derives from prior practitioner experience
• If the principles of an open scholarly commons are such a sel...
• Why the UK?
• Government and funder policy leading the UK down a unique GOLDen path
• Fallout from Fin...
• Main phases of the research
• Scoping phrase – understanding the current challenges and environments
• Actors phase – un...
• Ethnographic and qualitative framed cultural research
• Cultural lens offers a holistic, rich and ...
• Neoliberalism
• Theory of political economic practice 
• Advocates the liberation of individual entr...
• Semi‐structured interviews
• Informal guided conversations with thematic areas but not rigid structur...
• OA practitioner representatives
• Provide broad, insightful eyewitness accounts
• Representative obse...
• Interviews fully transcribed for qualitative content analysis
• Systematise and describe conceptual ...
1. Repository staffing and function
• Aspects that relate more to the function of the local OAIR, than t...
• Theme: Repository Staffing and Function
• Theme: Discourse
“There is a
widespread view
that it, or there
seems to be, that it
is a bad thing… I'm
hearing quite a ...
• Theme: Policy and Stance
“Well it was a policy and then it got a
little bit hidden. Now that the
publishers are changing...
• Theme: Barriers
“I think it [is] basically the uncertainty of whether
they're able to. There are so many different model...
“I think they are probably responding to their own peer
groups. They're more aligned I think to their subjects,
what their...
• Academic knowledge of OA still evidences deficiencies…but caution!
• Linking of capita...
• Theme: Barriers: Russell Group • Theme: Barriers: Post‐1992
• University cultures and environments are shaping responses to open 
• Practitioner views offe...
D.BIS, 2011. International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2011 [online]. Available at: 
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The long song and the panopticon: open access, universities and cultural hegemony by Gaz J Johnston, Nottingham Trent University


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The long song and the panopticon: open access, universities and cultural hegemony by Gaz J Johnston, Nottingham Trent University

  1. 1. THE LONG SONG AND THE PANOPTICON: OPEN ACCESS,  UNIVERSITIES AND CULTURAL HEGEMONY Gaz J Johnson, Nottingham Trent University ARLG 2014, Sussex, June 2014 @Llordllama‐0003‐3953‐6155
  2. 2. OVERVIEW • Explain my interest in this field • Examine the rationale and approach to the research • Consider the affect of a marketised tertiary education sector • Explore preliminary results and conclusions • Discussion, questions and comments
  3. 3. BACKGROUND • Current UK environment has brought scholarly dissemination issues into sharp focus • Ongoing serials price crisis • REF 2014, Finch report, HEFCE & RCUK Policies, House of Lords Inquiry • Emerging technological disruption to publishing industry • Evolution of research dissemination routes • Perceived indifferent academic cultural response to OA/OE/OD etc • Prior research focus on quantitative metrics and technological solutions  • STEM focus of prior research almost overwhelming • Influence & power structures of dissemination actors poorly understood • Little work focussing on cultural barriers and behaviour
  4. 4. AIMS • Research derives from prior practitioner experience • If the principles of an open scholarly commons are such a self‐evident societal good…why are so  many UK academics so reluctant to engage? • Research goals • Better understand the levels UK academics engage with concepts of open scholarship and practice • Develop a evidenced critical framework of their epistemologies and rationales • Identify, document and evaluate influence actors and relative power active in this environment • Explore impacts of communication, processes, workflows and cultural environments affecting  academics responses • Hope research will offer practical insight for to activists' efforts to achieve cultural change  towards OA
  5. 5. RESEARCH OVERVIEW • Why the UK? • Government and funder policy leading the UK down a unique GOLDen path • Fallout from Finch report, RCUK (2012) and HEFCE (2014) tectonic policy shifts • Volume of high class research produced annual • “The UK is a leading research nation in the world in terms of the number of articles that it publishes annually. ” D.BIS,  2011 • Unique and richly varied HE institutional cultures countrywide • Meritocratic islands of excellence, afloat in a society of mediocrity • Leadership in the field of OAIRs/OA tools • SHERPA, Eprints, EDINA, JISC etc. etc.
  6. 6. • Main phases of the research • Scoping phrase – understanding the current challenges and environments • Actors phase – understanding the actors rationales and priorities • Case study phase – critiquing process and examining cultures within UK institutions • Theory building phase – developing the tools and critique for analysing and understanding my data RESEARCH OVERVIEW
  7. 7. METHODS & METHODOLOGY • Ethnographic and qualitative framed cultural research • Cultural lens offers a holistic, rich and multi‐faceted account • Qualitative semi‐structured interviews, participant observation and case study • Philosophical underpinnings in understand motivations, behaviours and relationships • Foucault, (neo)Marxist analysis & emerging neoliberal critique • Critical management and organisational studies for examination of institutional culture • Possible interest in Deleuze, Guattari and Latour on power and networks • Importance of reflexivity • Situating myself in the research, acknowledging standpoint • Rationalising impossibility of true objectivity • Allowing genuine voices of subjects to speak through in results
  8. 8. NEOLIBERAL CRITIQUE • Neoliberalism • Theory of political economic practice  • Advocates the liberation of individual entrepreneurial freedoms, within an institutional framework that  is characterised by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade • Since 1970s the state's neoliberal reforms have aimed to introduce market discipline into all fields of  economic and capital production within the UK • UK HE today • An increasingly marketised, commodified knowledge/learning regime • Subsumption of HE discourse framed within the language of business and management • Impact and cultural resistance to neo‐Taylorist managerliasm and measure • Policy driven by productivity and efficiencies emphasises STEM over AHSS • Not why hasn't open access made more of an impact, but how has it managed to make any impact at all in a marketised education sector?
  9. 9. SCOPING INTERVIEWS • Semi‐structured interviews • Informal guided conversations with thematic areas but not rigid structures • Interviewees allowed to answer, explain, amplify answers • Interviewer can probe, guide, side‐track as needed in search of genuine revelation • Most via Skype, a handful F2F • Primary themes • Activities: Current, historic and types • Discourse: Current topics of debate and engagement across the HEI • Policy: Stance and response adopted by the HEI PTB • Drivers: Forces for practical response and actors of influence • Difficulties: Cultural barriers and obstacles retarding the embrace of OA
  10. 10. SAMPLE RECRUITMENT • OA practitioner representatives • Provide broad, insightful eyewitness accounts • Representative observers of institutional culture and practice • 125 HEIs approached • 81 institutions interviewed • 27.5hrs audio, approx. 220k words transcribed(!) • Representation • Russell Group  88% • 1994 Group* 91% • Million+ 45% • Cathedrals Group 47% • University Alliance 63% • Other 36% *extant at time of work 2% 2% 95% Research Office Research and Enterprise Library 58% 23% 23% Granted Granted with caveats Anonymisation requested Longest 59m 07s Shortest 9m 23s
  11. 11. Geographic  Distribution
  12. 12. ANALYSIS AND CODING • Interviews fully transcribed for qualitative content analysis • Systematise and describe conceptual context of discussions • Develop hierarchical conceptual categories (and subcategories) • Coding methodology • Deep readings of transcripts (time consuming) • Manual construction of coding frame and booklet (even more time  consuming) • Computer assisted (NVivo 10) pilot coding phase test on 15‐20% of data • Revision and final adjustments before main phase coding on all data • Review and conceptual consolidation • Data visualisation tools employed to aid in comprehension
  13. 13. RESULTS NARRATIVE 1. Repository staffing and function • Aspects that relate more to the function of the local OAIR, than they do to the academics 2. Recent OA activities • Actions and events that have occurred within HEIs in terms of the development of their response to OA 3. Academic Discourse and responses • The responses, discussion and debate that has been engendered and witnessed within the HEIs as it relates to OA 4. Institutional Policy & Position • All matters relating to the HEI itself and their policy moves towards OA.  5. Drivers • The driving forces behind the foundation and continuance of practical activities relating to OA  6. Influence Actors • Individuals, organisations or circumstances who are believed to be having an affect on the belief, views, stance and discourse of academics 7. Barriers to OA • Identified attitudes, aspects, concerns or policies that are seen to be blocking the uptake of open access by academics
  14. 14. • Theme: Repository Staffing and Function
  15. 15. • Theme: Discourse “There is a widespread view that it, or there seems to be, that it is a bad thing… I'm hearing quite a lot of rumblings against gold open access, not in favour of green.” Rachel Henderson, UEA “It is does depend and vary between department and between faculty as well, even between individual researchers as you might expect. Some of them are quite engaged...generally, generally most people are fine with open access as kinda an idea, support of in that sense.” James Bisset, Durham “I think also a degree of concern that there was almost a double whammy that the institutions would still be paying for the foreseeable future journal subscriptions and potentially ultimately be paying article processing charges as well. And I think a feeling that publishers are sort of got off quite lightly.” Nick Goodfellow, Leeds Trinity
  16. 16. • Theme: Policy and Stance “Well it was a policy and then it got a little bit hidden. Now that the publishers are changing their policies to say if you've got a mandate, you know the ones who are putting in embargoes and things, that I think I'm going to leave it hidden.” Other, Post- 1992 (1) “There's a very real sense's a...their reaction is minimal compliance. We'll go through the motions, we'll do what we have to but, we're not seeing it as a big thing, we're not going to put those resources behind it, we don't believe, this policy is really sustainable.” Ian Rowlands, Leicester “Our institutional position is that we support open access, we're very positive about green open access, we're very positive about gold open access where that, those are 100% gold open access journals.” Wendy White, Southampton
  17. 17. • Theme: Barriers “I think it [is] basically the uncertainty of whether they're able to. There are so many different models out there from publishers as to what they, what the process is for making their material available.” Cathedral Group, 2nd Wave institution (01) “I think it's probably fair to say there has been, well not hostility, but [a] certain amount of scepticism about open access we've heard from certain academics, who are very wedded to the traditional way of publishing.” David Boyd, Bristol “I would say another major issue, just the huge complexity of publisher policies. And how they interact with funder policies… And it's almost impossible because it's, you know, it depends on which publisher, it depends who's funding them, it depends on embargoes. And they just find it really really complicated. As do we.” Jackie Proven, St Andrews
  18. 18. “I think they are probably responding to their own peer groups. They're more aligned I think to their subjects, what their societies are saying.” Other, Red Brick (03) “Senior University Management and Heads of Department are listened too well. Generally if they say do something, then the majority of the academics will comply.” Russell Group, University of London member (01) “The library has managed to be on a, the voice of reason at times. Well we like to think of ourselves as the voice of reason. And be able to do some myth busting within certain meetings.” Julia Robinson, Newcastle “I mean certainly not enough of them come to library things to be really influenced by the library. Unless we, unless there's a kinda, we've somehow influenced certain people who influence others.” Chris Keene, Sussex I think publishers have more influence than we might like.” Other, Plate Glass institution (03) • Theme: Influence Actors
  19. 19. OUTLINE (INTERESTING) CONCLUSIONS • Academic knowledge of OA still evidences deficiencies…but caution! • Linking of capital (funder mandates) has pushed OA priority up to senior management • Operationalisation of OA practice counters idealism • Creeping pragmatism and loss of idealism of OA practitioners  • Siloing of open practitioners producing a barrier to shared practice • Technological deterministic solutions thinking pervades academia • Scholarly Societies identified most commonly as opponents of OA
  20. 20. • Theme: Barriers: Russell Group • Theme: Barriers: Post‐1992
  21. 21. FINAL THOUGHTS • University cultures and environments are shaping responses to open  scholarship • Practitioner views offer insights but need contextualisation from academic  actors • (Volunteers welcomed!) • Influence actors are apparent but their inter‐relationships merit further  exploration • How different are the issues at differing types of universities?
  22. 22. CONTACT & DISCUSSIONS @llordllama Funding acknowledgement: AHRC
  23. 23. REFERENCES D.BIS, 2011. International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2011 [online]. Available at:‐p123‐international‐comparative‐performance‐uk‐ research‐base‐2011.pdf [accessed 20 June 2014]. DURHAM ITS, 2011. Introduction to NVivo: Guide 52 [online]. University of Durham Information Technology Service. Available at: [accessed 5 June 2014]. HARVEY, D., 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. HEFCE, 2014. New policy for open access in the post‐2014 Research Excellence Framework [online]. Available at: [accessed: 22 May 2014]. JONES‐DEVITT, S., and SAMIEI, C., 2011.  From Accrington Stanley to Academia? The use of league tables and student surveys to determine the  'quality' in higher education. In: M. MOLESWORTH, R. SCULLION and E. NIXON, eds., The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as  Consumer. London: Routledge, 2011. pp.86‐100. OWENS, S., 2012, Is the Academic Publishing Industry on the Verge of Disruption? U.S. News and World Reports [online], (23 July). Available at:‐the‐academic‐publishing‐industry‐on‐the‐verge‐of‐disruption?s_cid=rss:is‐the‐ academic‐publishing‐industry‐on‐the‐verge‐of‐disruption&page=7 [Accessed: 27 July 2012]. RCUK, 2012. Research Councils UK Policy on Access to Research Outputs [online]. Research Councils UK. Available at: [Accessed: 27 July 2012]. RUBIN, J.R., and RUBIN, I.S., 2005. Qualitative Interviewing: The art of hearing data. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications. SCHREIER, M., 2012. Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd.