Webinar: Open access publishing: the oligopoly of big publishing firms and the possibility of alternative models

Date: Friday 22nd of October 2021, on zoom

Time:  11am-12pm (British summer time) /12-13h Central European Time

Please register here: https://cam-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIsd-2gpjMtE9OO-lz-yq7FBFGQt1NLrck0

Issues as stake

Surviving in a bibliometric economy: Perspectives on Open Access journal publishing from the majority world

David Mills, University of Oxford

The term Open Access is invoked as a normative principle and used to describe a model of scholarly publishing. In both uses, its meanings are multiply contested. This presentation explores the adoption of Open Access by commercial academic publishers who cater for scholarly communities across the majority world, charging authors APCs (Article Processing Charges). I trace the critiques of their work, set out the changing political economy of Open Access, and assess the implications of attempts to decolonise the currently dominant global publishing and citation infrastructures.

Promising ways forward 

Berghahn and Libraria’s ‘Subscribe to Open (S2O)’ model: Berghahn Open Anthro

Vivian Berghahn, Berghahn Books (New York and Oxford)

The publishing industry has become increasingly consolidated and ever more dominated by a small number of very large multinational companies. Despite higher education sectors that are otherwise fraught with budget cuts and overburdened faculty, these companies enjoy increasing profit margins through their monetization of publicly funded research. Open access publishing in many ways intended to loosen the grip of these publishing monopolies, yet the most prevalent models to date have had the unintended consequences of not only making these very publishers bigger, more dominant, and more profitable, but has also made publishing more inequitable. 

This presentation will set out how a new open access model called Subscribe to Open works and detail how it aims to achieve a sustainable and universal approach to open access that is vital for ensuring a more diverse and equitable global scholarly communications ecosystem.


Dr David Mills  is Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Oxford. Recent research on publishing practices in the African academy has focused on the impact of the ‘predatory publishing’ discourses promoted by elite science journals and publishers, and the way global publishing infrastructures are reshaping regional knowledge ecosystems.

Vivian Berghahn is Managing Director and Journals Editorial Director at Berghahn Books, an independent publisher of distinguished scholarly books and journals in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to overseeing the journals division at Berghahn, Vivian’s managerial responsibilities include advancing the company’s online initiatives and the strategic development of its overall publishing program. With over 20 years of experience in academic publishing, she previously worked for Blackwell Publishing and Northeastern University Press. She currently serves on the AAP-PSP Committee and was a co-opted member of the ALPSP Council (2015-2020). She is also – still – endeavoring (and determined) to complete her PhD in Anthropology from the Graduate Center, CUNY.


The webinar is part of a webinar series on Alternative conditions for knowledge creation: Invitation to an explorative journey, organised by Dr Eva Hartmann and the Critical Higher Education research group at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Professor Sue Wright of the Centre for Higher Education Futures (Aarhus University). The webinar series explores key issues at stake and possible solutions to address them in number of fields. The overall idea is to identify the necessary conditions for the creation of alternative knowledge.

Please register here : https://cam-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIsd-2gpjMtE9OO-lz-yq7FBFGQt1NLrck0