So, in conjunction with the amazing people at South End Press -- a group of people unsurpassed in my esteem -- I'm proud to be part of a proposal for the SXSW conference this year. However, we need you to VOTE FOR OUR PANEL at PanelPicker.
Please do this. It takes 2 minutes.
What are we planning to talk about?
- How has digital publishing affected small independent presses?
- Are small independent presses suffering and why?
- Are there small presses thriving? How?
- What can we do and how do we move forward to ensure that marginalized, unpopular ideas continue to be expressed and spread?
- What is open access really?
What I like about this is that it would provide us the opportunity to be radical, in its original sense of going back to the roots. Rather than focusing on the pragmatic issues of business models, government mandates, implementation strategies and negotiation of evaluation paradigms etc., I think that this panel would afford us the opportunity to truly address the question: what do we want from open access? (and who is that "we"?)
As Peter Suber is at pains to point out in his excellent Open Access, being open is not universal. Here we want to explore how it is that this is often overlooked. Who are those communities who would, perhaps, most benefit through broad dissemination and exposure, but are simultaneously those whose very entry into the open access sphere is precluded through marginalisation?
As I see it, this type of approach could tie in well with other initiatives, such as Adeline Koh's dhpoco, in an exploration of the ways in which technology can frequently act as a mask and reproducer, rather than enabler, of social inequality (along lines of race, gender, sexuality etc.).
"What is open access really?" -- perhaps, were it not for the accidents of history, it would just be called "publishing". That doesn't mean, though, that it will inherently erase inequality. Unless, that is, we build the social structures around the technology to facilitate such a move.