An open pledge

This post is inspired by author pledges made for open access publishing. I completely forgot about this post until last night when I was cleaning my desktop folders and I didn’t want to lose it again because I find it more and more important to talk about issues of power and privilege in accessing knowledge. So here you go, my take on author pledges!

A pledge can go like this:

or this:

“I vow that this is the last article that I will publish to which the public cannot get access. I am boycotting locked-down journals and I’d like to ask other academics to do the same.” (boyd, 2008)

So author pledges often advocate for open access publishing. A common argument is that “we have the means and methods to make knowledge accessible to everyone, with no economic barrier to access and at a much lower cost to society,” so why not open the products of academic work to everyone?

The author pledges I have above are bold and inspiring; they carry with them an air of academic  determination. As a (kind of) fresh academic, I’m not ready to make a pledge to publish only in open access journals yet. So here is an author pledge that makes sense to me the most at this time in my life:

I will share with you my thoughts and research whenever I can… because ideas are also valuable in their draft forms.

I will be open to questions, criticisms, or suggestions about my work… because then I can (we can) find new directions to inquire.

I will listen to you with an open mind and will be appreciative and considerate because that’s the only way openness can be mutual.

Here are some useful links if you want to learn more about open pledges and if you’re thinking about making a pledge yourself:

Making a pledge by Maura A. Smale

Open or Shot by Steve Wheeler

Reasons to pledge by Open Access Pledge

Make a commitment for open access by Open Access Pledge

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