The Post: Practice and Encouragement for New Scholars
Taylor Price ~ Lakehead University
Open access (OA) publishing is a new way of disseminating research by hosting research online so that any interested individual can access and engage with the work at will (Suber 2012: 4). OA publishing is guided by the principle that “a commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of this work as far as possible, and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who may profit from it” (Willinsky 2009: 5, italics in original). And while there are many ways to achieve the vision of what has come to be called “the open access movement”, open accessibility at the journal level is an essential component of this movement in scientific and intellectual publishing.
Publishing an open access journal allows for certain affordances. Particularly, new open access journals do not necessarily need to abide by every single academic convention. Instead, some open-access journals are developed specifically in order to critique, challenge, and move beyond many taken-for-granted academic conventions. Further, open access journals often work to promote voices that are often understated or non-existent in academic discussions; these can include researchers from developing countries, non-academics, academics with radical bents, or graduate and undergraduate researchers.
The minds behind Lakehead University’s newest academic journal The Post have conceptualized a publication outlet which will enable undergraduate researchers from all of the departments of LU to have their voice heard by any interested person with an internet connection. The scope of this journal challenges typical academic publication practices which are to segment and fragmentize disciplines and subject areas, instead, this journal encourages undergraduates with any scholarly interest to publish in its pages (or on its webpage, rather). What’s more is that they even encourage students to research topics that interest them, even if this means that they submit work which falls outside of their major discipline of study.
Realizing the vision of open access through promoting interdisciplinarity and giving emergent researchers from Lakehead University a voice is a commendable goal. Though readers should be reminded that open access publishing can be a challenging activity since journals are often funded by precarious grants and subsidies. Therefore, in order for certain marginalized voices to benefit from the support of new publication outlets, so too must open access journals find practical support from those who believe in the values they represent: equality, democracy, and republicanism.
Suber, Peter. 2012. Open Access. Cambridge: MIT.
Willinsky, John. 2009. The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Cambridge: MIT.