Instead of a physical participation at the Open Access roundtable at the annual meeting of Society of Ethnomusicology (SEM) in Pittsburgh today, I’ve offered my thoughts in the form of an audio recording and a post for Ethnomusicology Review (reblogged by JustPublics@365 out of CUNY). In this post, I traced the lifecycle of two of publishing projects from fieldwork to journal articles and argued for a productive tension between blogging and academic writing.
To sum up the post, I end with the following:
Publishing, to me, in its simplistic sense, is to make something public. If our public precludes those who have been our research associates, or individuals without institutional affiliations or access to scholarly journals, then we should rethink how we communicate our scholarship. Lastly, I return to the question of research impact, an inquiry central to the ethnographic perspective and a critical step of the ethnographic feedback loop. The issue of transparency can set the course of impact of our research. Having an open and transparent channel of communication is the beginning of a meaningful dialogue we ethnomusicologists can foster with the public. Informational openness, however, is a complex discourse that requires further contextualization and its discussion would not complete without a full consideration of access, ethics, and responsibility (Christen 2012). We’re living in a moment where the value of scarcity associated with industrial mode of production (Suoranta and Vadén 2008:131) is being challenged by the dispersed openness afforded by digital media. The scholarly publishing industry itself is a cultural field with policies and infrastructures driven by commercial values (Miller 2012) that mostly defy public interests. We should maintain our critical viewpoints as we engage with our own scholarly communication practices.
For a more personal framing on the meaning of open access publishing for a young off-tenure-track scholar, listen to this short audio recording. It’s kind of a pep talk.