Through struggle and indifference: the UK academy's engagement with the open intellectual commons

Johnson, G.J., 2017. Through struggle and indifference: the UK academy's engagement with the open intellectual commons. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

The academy has long relied on publisher-facilitated research dissemination; yet digital dissemination has dramatically transformed the scholarly publishing field. Particularly, open access (OA) has disrupted an increasingly commodified and fetishised publishing praxis, creating an open intellectual commons. However, despite OA's public good, academics remain indifferent to its praxis. The UK academy's policy environment and cultural practices, represent a unique arena to consider these issues within. Limited research concerning the UK academy's rationales for OA engagement exists, particularly qualitative work critically evaluating influences and barriers to achieving cultural change. From a novel ethnographically-framed sociological perspective, combined with empirical investigations, this research addresses this gap in knowledge through comprehending academics' OA responses, publishing influences, actor power-relationships and related HE policy environments.
A novel theoretical framework employing Marx, Foucault, Gramsci and the Italian Autonomous-Marxists' conceptualisations of power-relations, struggle and resistance, empower an ideological critique analysis. An examination of how increasingly marketised universities have embraced cognitive capitalism and academic alienation, contrasts with the tensions, events and concepts underlying UK OA's development. Extensive semi-structured interviews with different publishing actors provide cultural-native insights. OA practitioners expose the publication field's configuration, academics and other publishing actors' discourse develop further insights, while academic activists reveal how differing approaches affect dissemination praxis.
Analysis indicates actors, including governmental bodies, commercial publishers and funders, dominate a hegemonic ruling-bloc, through controlling economic and symbolic esteem capital. An academy is revealed shifting from idealised OA, towards pragmatic compliance with a normative gold-OA form, although concerns about perceived cost barriers and diminished prestige capital remain. Despite ruling-bloc efforts to address the conjunctural crisis OA represents, a disaggregated counter-hegemonic resistance exists: providing platforms, sustainable publishing, and exposing inequities. While gold-OA praxis proliferates, a struggle for agency within scholarly publishing praxis continues. Hence, ostensibly future dissemination will contain OA elements, but its conformation remains uncertain.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Johnson, G.J.
Date: January 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Sep 2017 09:51
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 09:52
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31531

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