OLH reopens applications to flip subscription journals to open access

The Open Library of Humanities (OHL) is accepting expressions of interest from subscription journals. 

A book open with pages flicking towards the right

The Open Library of Humanities is currently accepting expressions of interest from subscription journals in the humanities seeking to move to a gold open access (OA) publishing model without author-facing charges (‘diamond’ OA).

The Open Library of Humanities is an award-winning, scholar-led, gold open-access publisher of 28 journals with no author-facing charges. The publishing platform is funded by an international consortium of libraries who have joined OLH in their mission to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible, and rigorously preserved for the digital future. OLH’s mission is to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities – for free, for everyone, forever.

The reopening comes following the generosity of OLH’s higher-tier supporters in enabling the OLH to expand its portfolio of 28 peer-reviewed open access scholarly journals, and the invaluable ongoing support received from the over 300 member libraries and institutions that make this work possible.

OLH welcomes expressions of interest from journals interested in flipping to gold open-access without author-facing charges, and which meet the following requirements:

  • Must be peer-reviewed
  • Has been established for at least five years
  • Currently funded through a subscription model
  • Journal is based in a humanities discipline
  • Has an international editorial board

OLH also welcomes areas within the humanities not currently covered by its existing journals, and expressions of interest from international, multilingual, and learned society journals, although all expressions of interest will be considered. Initial expressions of interest and exploratory conversations may be made without commitment. Shortlisted expressions of interest will then be invited to make a full application.

“We are delighted to be able to launch this initiative to help make scholarly research more openly accessible. By supporting more subscription journals to transition to open access, we aim to ensure the open availability of knowledge as broadly as possible, as per our charitable aims and core mission”, said Dr Rose Harris-Birtill, Acting Director of the Open Library of Humanities. “These criteria are in place to help create savings for library budgets, to stimulate the commercial business sector to adopt new models for open access scholarship, and to ensure the highest journal quality for our supporting members.”

Journals wishing to join the platform should fill in the expression of interest form. For institutions and libraries who would like to contribute to helping OLH continue this vital work, please contact Paula Clemente Vega.

Share

Five ways museum work is classed (and what we might do about it)

Dr Samantha Evans was awarded her PhD, ‘Struggles for Distinction: class and classed inequality in UK museum work’, from Birkbeck’s Department of Organizational Psychology in November 2020. She won the Phillip Pullman Prize for Best Thesis in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics. She is currently a Research Fellow at UCL and will be moving to Royal Holloway as a Lecturer in Organisation Studies in October 2021. In this blog, Dr Evans highlights key findings from her PhD, in an update from her first blog, posted in April 2018.

Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow

The recent appointment of George Osborne as Trustee of the British Museum generated a great deal of controversy within social media. Apart from being architect of policies which cut museum funding, his appointment exposes the realpolitik of power and money in a high-profile cultural institution. It also raises questions about work behind-the-scenes of the museum: who can get in and get on, and how might social class matter?

My doctoral research examined these questions, adapting Pierre Bourdieu’s theory and using secondary data, focus groups and interviews. This is a summary of my findings.

  1. Museum work is hierarchical and exclusive

Specialist curatorial knowledge, particularly in a national museum, has greater prestige than other roles. This may not seem surprising; this knowledge is seen to distinguish museums from other fields.  However, it does mean other forms of knowledge – audience-focussed, practical, technical, and commercial – play second fiddle and runs counter to attempts to position museums as inclusive. It is the exalted nature of these positions, that contributes to their being competitive and out of reach for many, requiring costly qualifications and working for low or no pay.

  1. Museum work is changing but is still exclusive

The status of curatorial work is however being challenged by the competitive funding environment. Museums need new sources of income, and such skills are increasingly being sought. This is not without controversy. The furore over the Tate’s recruitment of a Head of Coffee illustrates this. Such changes highlight that knowledge hierarchies are not fixed. However, at present, it is only the very top echelons (what Bourdieu would call a ‘field of power’) where the rules of the game are being changed, as can be seen in the appointment of museum directors from other sectors (from politics and online retail) and of course, George Osborne.

  1. Museum career paths are rigid AND insecure

For everyone else, there is a powerful discourse that museum careers are built on dedication to the field. This is reinforced by the specialised and geographical division of museum work which means there is limited opportunity to move, buoyed by a fear of being shut out should one leave the sector. Alongside this, museum work, like other sectors, is increasingly precarious, and individuals rather than institutions, are encouraged to take on the precarity of the market, by being flexible, enterprising and resilient. This puts pressure on everyone, but particularly for those with less capital, unable to demonstrate both dedication and afford their rent.

  1. There is limited attention on the museum worker

In an embattled sector, the focus has been on collections or audiences with less attention paid to the needs of museum workers. This is reflected in both policy and museum studies research. Where the workforce is considered, it is often as a vehicle for developing the sector, rather than a consideration of what we might call ‘good work.’ The lower status of management, viz-a-viz curatorial knowledge, make skills in people management less valued. And many small museums do not have the capacity to support, coach, or develop their staff.

  1. Museums are ‘classed’ too

Not all museums are equal. National museums have distinct privileges over and above other museums. They receive funding direct from central government, have a mandate to lead the sector, and an ability to capitalise on their status (attracting well-connected Trustees, high visitor numbers, TV deals).  Whilst some museums can sit at the same table, few can become a ‘national’. As such it creates a them and us divide, legitimised by nationals having the ‘best’ collections. These distinctions need critical scrutiny; collections often come from money, and their value is not neutral. From this lens, the appointment of George Osborne can be seen to reinforce such distinction, in effect upholding a classed system.

What can we do?

The pandemic offers an opportunity for museums to collectively rethink the skills they need, the way roles are designed, and how knowledge is valued. There is a need to develop inclusive career paths in and across sectors, creating partnerships, and to emphasise skills in “worker care” as much as “collections care”. National museums, funders, and universities have power and hence a responsibility to invest in this work.

There is more to this story. I am happy to give a talk, discuss solutions and hear your thoughts @samisatwork or Samantha.l.evans@ucl.ac.uk.

 Further information

Share

Birkbeck Pride and LGBTQ+ Pandemic & Lockdown Experiences Results and New Project

Birkbeck is looking for participants in a major new interview study on the well-being of LGBTQ* adults during the pandemic.

The Pride Rainbow flag partially covering the sun in the sky

Image credit: http://www.quotecatalog.com/quotes/inspirational CC-BY-2.0

As we reach the end of Pride month with events outdoors, online, or rearranged, we have news of the latest in our series LGBTQ+ experiences during the pandemic and lockdowns. At Birkbeck Fiona Tasker and Marie Houghton have been researching the vulnerability and resilience of LGBTQ+ adults since the start of the pandemic. The British Academy /Leverhulme funded project aims to develop understanding of UK LGBTQ* young adults wellbeing experiences. Together with colleagues in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Italy, Mexico Portugal, and Sweden we aim to combine our findings and build up a bigger picture of LGBTQ+ psychological wellbeing across Europe and South America. The UK project based at Birkbeck is directed by Dr Fiona Tasker (a Reader in the Department of Psychological Sciences) who has been involved in research with LGBT+ communities since she arrived at Birkbeck in 1995.

The animated owl holding the Pride flag Our second survey shows a lot of uncertainty and variability in how LGBTQ+ people have experienced the pandemic and associated lockdowns or restrictions. Over half of those taking part said they’d had problems with well-being or mental health and many felt lonely and isolated. But other people had experienced positive gains especially in terms of online services and outreach activities had stepped up. You can read more about our results via the report on our website.

In our new research project, we want to do some individual online interviews to find out more about the personal stories of how LGBTQ+ adults have been over the pandemic. What’s helped and what hasn’t in terms of family, friends and support? Why have some LGBTQ+ people experienced more problems and why have some gained in strength during the COVID-19 pandemic? We particularly want to hear from LGBTQ+ people who are aged between 18-35 years old but we would also be pleased to hear from anyone over 18 who is keen to talk to us. Our project — One Year On: LGBTQ+ Pandemic Experiences Interviews — has been given ethical approval by Birkbeck University of London. Please do get in touch – see flyer for details – as we would be pleased to tell you more about our interview questions.

If you would like to take part in the interview survey or get in touch with any questions please contact Fiona Tasker and Marie Houghton.

Please note that participation in this research is voluntary. Anyone signing up has the right to change their mind and withdraw at any point before or during the interview. Birkbeck is committed to ensuring that your personal data is processed in line with the GDPR and DPA 2018. 

Share

Why are social networking sites so reluctant to ban hateful users?

The right to free speech is not an excuse for turning a blind eye to online aggression.

Picture of Donald Trump giving a speech

Social networking sites have been both the heroes and villains of the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting loved ones across Tiers and time zones while simultaneously providing a safe haven for fake news and hate speech.

This latter is perhaps best illustrated by none other than the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, whose tweets following the presidential election have been widely condemned for inciting the January Capitol riot, which led to the deaths of five people.

While Trump is the most eminent figure to have been banned by the social media giant, he is by no means the first. In November 2018, the Canadian journalist Meghan Murphy was banned permanently from Twitter for hateful speech towards transgender people. Murphy’s response was to launch a legal dispute contesting her right to free speech.

When right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins suffered a similar fate in June 2020, BBC News drew comparisons between Hopkins and Trump, but commented that ‘leaving such tweets up in the public interest is an exception Twitter makes for world leaders – other accounts like Ms Hopkins’ risk being suspended when they break Twitter’s rules.’

Is the right to free speech, even if it constitutes hateful abuse, really in the public interest? And, if so, will it always take a riot to prompt social media giants to act?

Social media – a censorship free zone?

We have no problem identifying aggression or unacceptable conduct in real life. When it comes to social networking sites, however, the boundaries seem more blurred.

A lack of clarity and universality when it comes to bans is certainly not helping, as more than 70% of Americans, and more than 80% of Republican-leaning voters, believe that social networking sites intentionally censure opinions they do not agree with. Even scholars in Law and Ethics disagree on what constitutes harmful speech and whether such forms of speech should be restricted.

When Meghan Murphy accused Twitter of stifling her right to free speech, she tapped into the heart of the issue that is tying Twitter’s hands. Does permanently removing an individual from a social media platform stifle necessary debate? In the interests of avoiding a repeat of Capitol Hill, it is essential that we clarify the boundaries between free speech and hate speech and/or the processes necessary to define acceptable speech.

Consensus and consistency

One concern for social networking sites is the public backlash they might receive for ‘no-platforming’ controversial speakers. In the first study to model the factors that influence the acceptance of restrictions on free speech by social media sites, we find that users closely scrutinize how social networking sites handle controversies arising from political debates. Findings from our research show that observers of online aggression make trade-offs between free speech and the desire to punish aggression. Our findings show that, while observers of social media interactions dislike aggression and are willing to see it punished, the rhetoric of free speech is systematically employed to justify aggression that come from the observer’s own political side. In other words, free speech concerns are leveraged to foster partisan interests. .

The importance of preserving public trust means that social media sites should evaluate each banning case cautiously. In circumstances where banning an individual is inevitable because of high levels of online aggression, it is essential that the sites justify their decision to observing users and explain why the ban should not be interpreted as a limitation to users’ right to free speech.

The controversy that currently surrounds social media bans highlights the need for wider and more transparent discussions on what kind of speech should be restricted on social media, especially when it comes to political debates. Embedding rules against online aggression into public policy, rather than relying on the discretion of tech giants, would be one way to ensure a consistent approach to banning decisions. A clear policy, with buy-in from users, could prevent scepticism around bans that emerges from inconsistently and unfounded application of censorship.

We have seen the deadly consequences that can result from online aggression. Policy makers must exercise their power to make sure there are no safe spaces for hate speech.

Professor Paolo Antonetti, Professor in Marketing at NEOMA Business School and Dr Benedetta Crisafulli, Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s Department of Management are co-authors of the paper “I will defend your right to free speech, provided I agree with you”: How social media  users react (or not) to online out-group aggression recently published by Psychology & Marketing.

Share