Open access & scholarly communication discourse

The notion of public intellectuals and public scholarship in Fitzpatrick’s chapter “Working in Public” really resonated with me and made me think back to interviews I conducted with Christopher Long (who is mentioned in the chapter) and Dan Cohen (who is mentioned in the Drucker article) for a podcast project from last semester in which we talked about collaborative and open access projects that target broader audiences both within and outside the university. Christopher Long is the co-founder of the Public Philosophy Journal which has adopted a formative peer review process “that encourages engaged citizens from within and beyond the academy to work together through shared practices of writing [thus] shifting the peer review process from evaluation and gatekeeping to formation and shared learning” (Long, 2018). Long highlights the need to create a culture of shared scholarly practice, which I think is vital in the current socio-political climate. 

Fitzpatrick further emphasizes “that public intellectuals should take on more responsibility for communicating scholarly work to public audiences” (161). My interviews with Christopher and Dan also addressed new modes of scholarly communication that challenge the structures of traditional academic publishing and scholarly writing, focusing in particular on podcasting as a wide-ranging means of scholarly communication. Both of them make use of podcasts in their work as a bridging medium between the academic world and the public: Long created the Digital Dialogue Podcast in which he invited colleagues to discuss their work, and used a lot of the episodes as footnotes in the digital publication of one of his books; Cohen is the producer of the academic podcast What’s New, which he uses to promote other scholars’ works, and to emphasize the human pursuits of the academy, thus making research relatable to the public. I think another aspect of open access and scholarly communication discourse is the redefining of what constitutes scholarly communication. In the context of higher education, podcasting’s value as a method of research dissemination should also be considered a fundamental strand of the open access movement and provides a way of bringing research outside of the walls of the academy.