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Openness in Scholarship: A return to core values?


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The debate over the meaning, and value, of open movements has intensified. The fear of co-option of various efforts from Open Access to Open Data is driving a reassessment and re-definition of what is intended by “open”. In this article I apply group level models from cultural studies and economics to argue that the tension between exclusionary group formation and identity and aspirations towards inclusion and openness are a natural part of knowledge- making. Situating the traditional Western Scientific Knowledge System as a culture-made group, I argue that the institutional forms that support the group act as economic underwriters for the process by which groups creating exclusive knowledge invest in the process of making it more accessible, less exclusive, and more public-good-like, in exchange for receiving excludable goods that sustain the group. A necessary consequence of this is that our institutions will be conservative in their assessment of what knowledge-goods are worth of consideration and who is allowed within those institutional systems. Nonetheless the inclusion of new perspectives and increasing diversity underpins the production of general knowledge. I suggest that instead of positioning openness as new, and in opposition to traditional closed systems, it may be more productive to adopt a narrative in which efforts to increase inclusion are seen as a very old, core value of the academy, albeit one that is a constant work in progress.

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Openness in Scholarship: A return to core values?

  1. 1. Openness in Scholarship A return to core values? @cameronneylon
  2. 2. 1. Two questions
  3. 3. 2. Is all this “open” talk just reactive whining?
  4. 4. Openness is conceived as a new mode of being, applicable to many areas of life and gathering significant momentum – ‘changing the game’ as it were. Tkacz (2012)
  5. 5. 3. Cultural Science as a Model
  6. 6. CULTURE GROUP Hartley and Potts (2014) Cultural Science
  7. 7. CULTURE GROUP ENVIRONMENT Hartley and Potts (2014) Cultural Science
  8. 8. [I will answer Linus’ objections] partly, because the Learned Author, whoever he be (for ‘tis the Title-Page of his Book that first acquainted me with the name of Franciscus Linus) having forborne provoking Language in his Objections, allowes me in answering them to comply with my Inclinations & Custom of exercising Civility, even where I most dissent in point of Judgement.” Boyle (1662)
  9. 9. 4. Knowledge as a product of translation
  10. 10. ESOTERIC EXOTERIC Ludwig Fleck (1981 [1935]) Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact
  11. 11. *
  12. 12. Lotman’s stages of reception 1. Exoticism 2. Translation/Adaption 3. Abstraction 4. Dissolution 5. Re-transmission Yuri Lotman (2009) Dialogue Mechanisms in Universe of the Mind
  13. 13. *
  14. 14. *
  15. 15. 5. The (Political) Economics of Clubs
  16. 16. Elinor Ostrom (1990) Governing the Commons
  17. 17. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. Thomas Jefferson
  18. 18. Elinor Ostrom (1990) Governing the Commons
  19. 19. Elinor Ostrom (1990) Governing the Commons
  20. 20. What is the return to the club?
  21. 21. 6. Institution as underwriter
  22. 22. graduate  by  Paulo  Sá Ferreira  from  the  Noun  Project Harvard  University  by  NATAPON  CHANTABUTR  from  the  Noun  Project
  23. 23. 7. Openness as an old aspiration
  24. 24. “that not alone scientific readers, but those of every class, [...] to approach the source from whence this species of knowledge is derived” James Samuelson and William Crookes
  25. 25. “merely an amateur, a lover of truth, who was impelled by curiosity ” Grant Allen
  26. 26. “Of my being somewhat prolix in many of my Experiments, I have these Reasons to render[…] That in divers cases I thought it necessary to deliver things circumstantially, that the Person I addressed them to might, without mistake, and with as little trouble as is possible, be able to repeat such unusual Experiments” Boyle (1627) New Experiments
  27. 27. 1. Two questions
  28. 28. New (improved, evolved) institutions, New (improved, evolved) culture
  29. 29. Inside  Scholarly  Communications  Today Scholarship  in  the  21th  Century Building  an  Open  and  Information-­‐rich  Research  Institute Research  Reproducibility  in  Theory  and  Practice When  'Global'  is  Local:  Scholarly  Communications  in  the  Global  South Starting  Out:  Skills  and  Tools  for  Early  Career  Knowledge  Workers Data  in  the  Scholarly  Communications  Life  Cycle Data  Citation  Implementation  for  Data  Repositories Open  Annotation  Tools  and  Techniques Communication  and  Advocacy  for  Research  Transparency Opening  the  Sandbox:  Supporting  Student  Research  as  a  Gateway  to  Open  Practice Opening  Up  Research  and  Data The  Sci-­‐AI  Platform:  Enabling  Literature-­‐Based  Discovery Perspectives  on  Peer  Review Altmetrics:  Where  Are  We  Now  and  Where  Are  We  Headed  Next? Technology  and  Tools  for  Academic  Library  Teams Building  Public  Participation  in  Research
  30. 30. @cameronneylon
  31. 31. References 1. Tkacz (2012) From open source to open government: A critique of open politics, 2. Hartley and Potts (2014) Cultural Science, history-of-stories-demes-knowledge-and-innovation/ 3. Boyle (1627-1691) A defence of the doctring of the spring of the air,;view=toc 4. Fleck (1981[1935]) Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, 5. Lotman (2009) Dialogue Mechanisms in Universe of the Mind, 6. Ostrom (1990) Governing the Commons, relations/political-theory/governing-commons-evolution-institutions-collective-action- 1?format=PB&isbn=9781107569782#Ii164gTK70IeIoy0.97 7. Buchannan (1965) An Economic Theory of Clubs, 8. Lightman (2017) Popularizers, participation and the transformations of nineteenth-century publishing: From the 1860s to the 1880s, 9. Collins and Evans (2016) Why Democracies Need Science, 1509509607.html 10. Neylon (2017) Openness in Scholarship: A return to core values? (this paper),