Free as in Love: the Humanities and Creative Arts in Open Access Publishing
The complex of interests that drive responses to open access journal publication in the physical and natural sciences look downright straightforward next to the contradictions and counter-intuitions of scholarly book publishing in the humanities and the academic creative arts. While scholars in these fields are as keen as their white-coated colleagues for their work to be read widely, they can be subject to additional considerations that may mitigate their enthusiasm for completely unfettered access to their booty. At the same time, the book publishing business itself is under extraordinary economic pressure for a whole other range of reasons. To complete the perfect storm, humanities and creative arts research is constantly ridiculed and threatened in some sections of the media and politics — including, ominously, the new Australian government. Meanwhile, technology and business march on. Conditions are turbulent, to say the least, and the sector is confused and divided on how to respond. This presentation will draw out some threads from a recent examination of these issues, carried out under the auspices of the former government’s Book Industry Collaborative Council.
About the Speaker
Dr John Byron has worked in higher education and research policy for fifteen years in a variety of capacities, including President of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (2001); Executive Director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2003–2010); Senior Advisor on science, research, book industry and higher education policy to Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (2010–2012, 2013) and Minister for Higher Education (2013); and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia (2012–2013).
Dr Byron has served on numerous sector and government bodies including: the Cooperative Research Centres Committee; the Australian e-Research Infrastructure Council; the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia Indicators Development Group Humanities Subcommittee; the English National Curriculum consultation panel; the National Scholarly Communications Forum; the International Internet Preservation Consortium Researchers’ Requirements Reference Group; the Endeavour Awards Selection Committee; the program committee of the Canberra Writers’ Festival; and the management boards of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Manning Clark House, and the Association for Medical Humanities (Australia and New Zealand). He was Deputy Chair of the Federal Government’s Book Industry Collaborative Council, convening its Scholarly Book Publishing Expert Reference Group.