On “Beyond Open Access to Open Publication and Open Scholarship,” by John Maxwell

On “Beyond Open Access to Open Publication and Open Scholarship,” by John Maxwell

In “Beyond Open Access to Open Publication and Open Scholarship,” John Maxwell imagines what a humanities-based digital scholarly communication system would look like if it was modeled after prevalent web technologies, practices, and metaphors. He compares the opportunities that this approach might bring against traditional (read: current) academic publishing practices. This “webby model of scholarly communication” (5) would need to produce recognizable academic artifacts. Maxwell concludes that for digital scholarly artifacts to succeed in our current climate, they require at least 5 characteristics:

  • heft. The artifact must reflect a considerable amount of time and labour.
  • originality. The artifact must be new, in keeping with an academic conception of the term.
  • rigour. The artifact must prove that it is rigorous, and be said to be so by other experts.
  • accessibility. The artifact must be available.
  • durability. The artifact must last, and to do so, must be in some way archivable.

As Maxwell points out, these characteristics are not radical, rather, “none of these characteristics breaks with existing scholarly practice” (5). He goes on to explore some potential characteristics of digitally-published scholarly work that might in fact break with existing scholarly practice–Maxwell advocates for digital scholarship to be social, to invite commentary, to be prone to re-mix.

Overall, Maxwell writes of a broadening of scholarly communication. He considers what digital publishing could look like now and in the future:

“What kind of scholarly discourse will we see when the outputs of our work become not only accessible, but truly open: reviewable, revisable, reusable, remixable, by an unanticipated audience? This is the larger promise of truly open scholarship” (8).

Beyond mere access to scholarly resources, Maxwell infers, is a wealth of conceptual and technical possibilities for the creative and robust sharing of academic research.

Works cited

Maxwell, John. 2015. “Beyond Open Access to Open Publication and Open Scholarship.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3): 10 pp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *