CFP for MLA 2020: Scholarly Communication: Voices from the Global South

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    Brian Rosenblum

    Roundtable on Open Access and Scholarly Communication: Voices from the Global South

    Policies and initiatives intended to achieve a fair, open and sustainable scholarly publishing system continue to proliferate among publishers, funding agencies, and research institutions. Often missing from these conversations, however, are voices of the intended beneficiaries of these changes: researchers from the global South, with the result that many proposed models simply change the barriers to access rather than remove it entirely. For example, some open access models flip the subscription model of scholarly publishing to one that provides free access to readers paid for by article-processing charges (APC) paid by authors or their institutions. This switch creates new barriers for authors from low-income countries or institutions cannot afford to pay the APC fees.

    We seek scholars and practitioners with experience from various regions across the world to share their insights in a roundtable exploring current practices of scholarly publishing, their experience regarding issues of access, and their feedback on proposed OA funding models. Participants will share regional practices and models and their vision for how a global, open access future might work.

    The organizers seek participants who will be attending the MLA conference in person, but also recognize that time and costs present barriers to participation. For invited panel participants who are unable to attend in person, the organizers will work with you to arrange to present remotely.

    This roundtable is intended to be scholar-led, based in the experiences and practices of scholars, rather than a platform to promote publisher-driven solutions. We hope that this small sampling of researchers’ perspectives can add additional nuance to the complex problem of global scholarly communication.

    Panelists will each speak for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the panel, followed by a larger discussion.

    Please send an abstract of 250 words and a short CV to by March 22, 2019.

    Talking points might include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

    • what might a fully open access, global publishing environment look like?
    • description of regional open access practices and initiatives;
    • impact of “predatory” journals and the rhetoric surrounding them on authors and publishers in the Global South;
    • global search and discovery methods for research conducted in the Global South;
    • research evaluation and promotion criteria in various regions;
    • issues related to publishing in English vs research conducted and published in local language;
    • access to research as a human right.

    This session is inspired by recent symposia such as OA Beyond APCs at the University of Kansas and Reflections on an Open Digital Global South at the University of California-Davis.

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