Critical Issues in Open Access and Scholarly Communications

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Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

Goldsmiths, University of London

8 Lewisham Way


SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

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A conference about the implications of UK Open Access policy for research culture and values, and the future of scholarly publishing

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Critical Issues in Open Access and Scholarly Communications

Friday 24 May

Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

Whitehead Building

Goldsmiths, University of London

The four UK funding bodies have signaled their intention to move towards an open access policy for long-form publications and to mandate open access book publishing for the Research Excellence Framework exercise due in 2027.

UKRI has signed up to Plan S, a Europe-wide coalition that aims to accelerate the transition to full and immediate open access.

This event aims to widen the dialogue on open access books, examining the implications of UK policy for research culture and values, the future of scholarly publishing and for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It will reflect on the most recent findings from the Universities UK open access reports and provide a platform for gathering additional evidence and feedback from across the university sector.

Incorporating representatives from funding agencies, the UUK working group on open access monographs, REF panelists and PVCrs, publishers, learned societies, scholarly associations and researchers from a range of institutions – who will highlight both the challenges and opportunities of open access monograph publishing – the event will be structured around the following questions:

- What is the current UK policy on open access, and on open access monographs in particular?

- What is at stake for REF 2027, research culture and values, ECRs and diversity in scholarly publishing and practice?

- Who benefits from open access or from publishing as usual?

- What are the challenges of open access monograph publishing?

- What kind of experiments are made possible, what collaborations might emerge?

- Why publish, and where might online, open and platform-based publishing lead us next?

- What changes might be respectively desirable, equitable and feasible at national and global scale? Or result as consequences from open access developments?



IGLT foyer


(David Oswell, Pro Warden Research, Goldsmiths)

• MORNING (10-12.15)

—Update on current UK policy (Graham Stone, Senior Research Manager, Jisc)

—Key issues in open access and scholarly communications

(Chair, Graham Stone)

—Geoffrey Crossick (Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London): ‘The 2015 Report to HEFCE on Monographs and Open Access: Reflections Four Years On’

It is more than four years since HEFCE published my report on the implications of monographs and other long-form publications moving into a world of open access. I argued in the report that an understanding of why monographs mattered in the arts, humanities and social sciences was essential to consideration of the implications of their becoming increasingly available through open access, and identified a series of challenges that needed to be addressed if the opportunities were to be grasped. This talk will revisit that agenda and ask whether a narrow and short-term debate on funders' mandates may in practice have proved a diversion from making progress on the major longer-term issues identified in the report.

—Sarah Kember (Professor of New Technologies of Communication, Goldsmiths and Director of Goldsmiths Press): ‘Enough About Ideology, Let’s Talk About Values’

Progress in open access has been hampered by ideology and oppositionalism. The commonsense notion of openness as a necessary public good masks an increasingly narrow set of neoliberal values such as efficiency, transparency and compliance that need to be opened up and contested from within the academy. A cyberlibertarian approach to scholarly publishing will cost us dearly as the (hidden) price of publishing is devolved to universities and individual scholars providing free content and free labour to for-profit publishers and platforms. We should begin by re-evaluating scholarly work and its current conditions of possibility

—Gary Hall (Professor in Media and Performance, Coventry University): ‘We Started Building a Progressive Ecosystem for the Arts and Humanities – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!’

Over the last 20 years I’ve been involved in developing more than 15 grassroots, scholar-led open access projects. This talk discusses the politics underpinning these initiatives along with some of their unforeseen consequences. Among the projects featured are:

- Culture Machine (, a journal of critical and cultural theory that started in the UK in 1999 and is shortly due to relaunch out of Mexico

- Open Humanities Press (, an international collective that currently publishes 21 OA journals, over 40 OA books distributed across 8 book series, as well as libre OA experiments such as Liquid Books and Living Books About Life

- Radical Open Access Collective (, a community of non-profit presses, journals and other entities that was formed in 2015 and now consists of over 60 members.

—Peter Mandler (Professor of Modern Cultural History, University of Cambridge): ‘Open Access and the Humanities’

This presentation reminds us that the 'principles' of OA were largely derived without the participation of the humanities or any consideration of how humanities publishing differs from STEM in particular. Many of the problems that have arisen in implementation of OA 'principles' derives from this fundamental flaw - not necessarily from the humanities' 'backwardness'. Some ways forward will be suggested in developing new 'principles' that will pave the way for OA in the humanities, including questions of monographs, moral rights, licence and subscription revenue.

—Ronan Deazley (Professor, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast): ‘QUOTE/UNQUOTE: The Future is Open-ish’

Taking a number of recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union as a point of departure, in this talk we consider some of the barriers to unfettered, open, academic publishing – legal, institutional, and otherwise.

• LUNCH (12.15-1.15)


(Chair, Sarah Kember)

—Funding and policy (Steven Hill, Director of Research, Research England)

—Research Excellence Framework (REF) (Sylvia Walby, Professor of Sociology, City, University of London)

—Early Career Researchers (ECRs) (Samuel Moore, Researcher and Consultant: Critical Information/Publishing Studies)

—Unaffiliated and Retired Researchers (John Scott, Honorary Visiting Professor, Universities of Exeter and Essex)

—Difference and Diversity (Roopika Risam, Assistant Professor of English, Faculty Fellow for Digital Library Initiatives, Salem State University)

—Quality Assurance and Peer Review (Joe Deville, Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster University)

—Academic Freedom (David M. Berry, Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Sussex)

• TEA AND COFFEE (2.45-3.15)

• AFTERNOON 2. ROUNDTABLE (3.15 – 4.30)

(Chair, Helen Snaith)

Steven Hill (Director of Research, Research England)

Sunil Manghani (Professor of Theory, Practice & Critique, Director of Research and Enterprise, Winchester School of Art)

Simon Tanner (Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage and Pro Vice Dean Research, King’s College London)

Chris Banks (Director of Library Services, Imperial College London)

Susan Bruce (Professor of English and Co-Chair Arts & Humanities Alliance, Keele University)

Anthony Cond (Managing Director, Liverpool University Press)

Geoffrey Crossick (Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London)


(Chairs, Graham Stone, Sarah Kember and Helen Snaith)

Janneke Adema (Research Fellow, Centre for Digital Cultures, Coventry University)

Simon McVeigh (Professor of Music and Academic Director of Research Policy, Goldsmiths)


Invited audience

Sue Angulatta, Director, Research & Enterprise Services, University of Sussex

Leo Appleton, Director of Library Services, Goldsmiths

Anne Boddington, Pro Vice Chancellor Research, Business & Innovation, Kingston University

Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing, Cambridge University Press

Maria Delgado, Professor, Director of Research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Adrian Driscoll, Publishing Consultant, Goldsmiths Press

Ruth Fletcher, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Rupert Gatti, Director, Open Book Publishers

Andrew Grey, Academic Services Librarian, Goldsmiths

Jane Harvell, Director of Library Services and University Librarian, University of Sussex

Margaretta Jolly, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex

Andrew Lockett, Press Manager, University of Westminster Press

Darren Newbury, Professor of Photographic History, University of Brighton

Benedicte Page, Deputy Editor, The Bookseller

Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education

Andy Redman, Editorial Director, Humanities and Social Sciences, Oxford University Press

James Rivington, Head of Publications, The British Academy

Alison Shaw, Chief Executive, Bristol University Press and Policy Press

Helen Snaith, Senior Policy Advisor, Research England

Lara Speicher, Head of Publishing, UCL Press

Paul Stevens, Senior Commissioning Editor, Bristol University Press

Katie Stileman, Global Publicity Manager, The MIT Press

John Thompson, Professor of Sociology, University of Cambridge

Natalie Williams, Director, University of Wales Press


The event is organised by Goldsmiths College, with Jisc and Research England in attendance



The conference will take place in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, which is inside the Whitehead Building, on the Goldsmiths campus. The Whitehead Building is located off the college green, adjacent to the rear exit of the Richard Hoggart Building.

The closest train stations -- both about a 5-minute walk -- to the Goldsmiths campus are New Cross and New Cross Gate.

From New Cross:

--Turn right out of the station and right again at the top into New Cross Road

--Cross New Cross Road at the pedestrian traffic lights into Amersham Road, keeping to the right-hand pavement

--Follow the road around to the right into Parkfield Road

--Cross at the pedestrian lights and Richard Hoggart Building and the main Goldsmiths reception is ahead of you. The Whiethead Building is located at the rear of Richard Hoggart Building, and can be accessed through the rear exits

From New Cross Gate:

--Turn left out of the station and cross the road at the pedestrian lights

--Once you have crossed the road, continue along New Cross Road, past Laurie Grove onto Lewisham Way

--Walk past the glass-fronted Rutherford Building and cross Dixon Road (on the right)

--Richard Hoggart Building is on the right immediately after this. The Whitehead Building is located at the rear of Richard Hoggart Building, and can be accessed through the rear exits

The following buses also stop outside Goldsmiths: 21, 36, 53, 136, 171, 172, 177, 225, 321, 343, 436 and 453.

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Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

Goldsmiths, University of London

8 Lewisham Way


SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

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