Performing the Scholarly Monograph in Contemporary Digital Culture

5.1 Introduction

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In the struggle for the future of the book and the university, access to scholarship has become an increasingly important issue, one that is standing at the basis of new knowledge practices. Many scholars however feel that access to specialised research, especially in the humanities, has diminished due to shrinking library budgets on the one hand and more trade focused scholarly presses and publishers on the other. As the previous chapter showed, due to the rise of economic ideologies and market forces in both academia and scholarly book publishing over the last few decades, the monograph as a specific publishing and communication format has increasingly developed according to market demands. In this chapter I want to explore two related efforts that might potentially offer an opportunity to intervene in the current cultures of knowledge production in academia and publishing. To do so, and as I proposed in my introduction to this section, I want to focus on the two remaining aspects of the strategy I am laying out towards re-cutting the object-formation of the book. In chapter 4 I explored the first step of this strategy, offering a potential way to reframe the discourse surrounding the past and future of the book; here I will examine the two further steps, namely rethinking and re-performing the institutions surrounding the material production of the book, as well as our own entangled scholarly communication and publishing practices.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 As part of my effort to investigate potential alternatives, I will begin this chapter with a focus on some of the people and projects that are exploring (radical forms of) open scholarship and open access. Then, in the next part of this chapter, I will concentrate on research and publishing efforts that are investigating experimentation as a specific discourse and practice of critique, specifically with respect to the current system of scholarly object-formation (and opposed to narratives of innovation). Finally, I will conclude by arguing that, in order to sustain these affirmative critiques of the object-formation of the scholarly monograph and scholarly research more in general, we need forms of radical open access that include experimentation.

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