It is difficult to consider open scholarship in the early 2020s without referencing the elephant in the room: the shared global context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This strange and challenging time illuminated many cracks in global-scale infrastructure and nation-level societal priorities, and it also shone a light on the critical importance of open access to research and data. Commenting on this situation in a December 2020 article for The Conversation, Ginny Barbour, Director of Open Access Australasia, argues that “making it the default that research is open so it can be built on is a crucial step to ensure we can address [...] problems collaboratively.” But, vital as such a call is, perhaps it is not quite as easy as simply deciding to make open the default in research, or in scholarship more broadly. As Martin Paul Eve and Jonathan Gray write in the introduction to their recent collection Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access (2020), open access can be “intensely messy”(10). Further, they suggest,“open access is perceived through a set of contested institutional histories, argued over various theoretical terrains in the present, and imagined via diverse potentialities for the future”(Eve and Gray 2020, 10). Open social scholarship shares a similarly complex layering of histories, theories, and possibilities—increasingly apparent as open social scholarship grows and evolves across disciplinary and geographic divides.
- Open scholarship
- COVID-19 pandemic
- global-scale infrastructure
- open access to research and data