Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

05 October 2020

Open and Engaged Conference 2020: Inequities in Scholarly Communications

Research_ImageJoin us on Monday 19th October 2020 for this year’s Open and Engaged conference ‘Inequities in Scholarly Communications’, addressing this year’s international Open Access Week theme of ‘Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion’.

This one-day, online conference will bring together speakers working in libraries, museums, archives and publishers to further highlight and explore a number of these avenues, to critically assess whether the purported benefits of more open scholarly communications have been realised, and where possible to present practical ways forward.

Working in scholarly communications, we tend to assume that ‘Open’ is a good thing. We espouse the various benefits of openness, such as: free access to scholarly and educational resources for a wider audience, including journalists, various practitioners and professionals, and the general public; the potential to influence policy makers; allowing businesses to take advantage of the latest research; general improvements to the research process; and the offer of increased recognition for individual researchers and their institutions. Moreover, we celebrate the gradual emergence of a scholarly communications system which is more equitable for all, with fewer barriers to entry.

Though conversations around scholarly communications (and debates in digital media) have always included critical voices, those in positions of influence haven’t always paid as much attention to these as they should. Recent developments - like ‘transformative’ or ‘read and publish’ deals, the continued growth of scholar-led and community-owned infrastructure and presses, major changes in open access mandates and research evaluation policies, and the acquisition of scholarly communication services by commercial service suppliers, amongst major social and political events - have brought a number of urgent debates to the fore. Various other issues have persisted, like a lack of bibliodiversity in publishing and scholarly communications systems, funding inequalities, inclusivity (or lack of) in hiring, promotion and professional practices. These have implications for whether or not scholarly communications and ‘Open’ is ultimately beneficial for all.

Registration Details

Registration is free and open now. Recordings from the day will be made publicly available in November 2020.


9.45am – 10.10am (BST) Introductions

Dominic Walker, British Library

Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian, British Library

10.10am – 10.40am Keynote

Inequities in Scholarly Communications

Charlotte Roh, University of San Francisco

10.40am – 11am Break

11am – 12.20pm Session 1: Creating a More Equitable Scholarly Publishing Ecosystem

Social Justice Driven Open Access Bridging The Information Divide. Reggie Raju, University of Cape Town

Scaling Small: Enabling a More Diverse Ecosystem for Scholarly Book Publishing. Janneke Adema, Coventry University

Leverage Academy-Owned Non-APC Open Access Publishing to Achieve Sustainable and Equitable Scholarly Communications. Arianna Becerril-Garcia, Executive Director, Redalyc and Universidad Autónoma Del Estado De México

Small and Medium Size Academic Publishers Matter! Elea Giménez Toledo, Spanish National Research Council

12.20pm – 13.30pm Break

13.30pm – 14.30pm Session 2: Interventions Beyond Libraries

Decolonising the Archive: Questions, Problems and Solutions? Melissa Bennett, National Trust

Bricks and Mortals: Approaches to Decolonizing Museums at UCL. Subhadra Das, University College London

Using Open Source Tools to Decolonize Map Archives: The Case of Palestine Open Maps. Majd Al-Shihabi, Toronto-Based Technologist

14.30pm – 14.55pm Break

14.55pm – 15.55pm Session 3: Widening Participation in Open Research

Open or Ajar? And How We Blow The B****Y Doors Off! Josie Caplehorne and Ben Watson, University of Kent

Knowledge Justice in the Digital Archive: The Exclusions of ‘Open’ / The Inclusions of ‘Closed’. Kira Allmann, University of Oxford

For Whom Should Science Be Opened? Leslie Chan, University of Toronto at Scarborough

15.55pm – 16.00pm Closing Remarks, Dominic Walker, British Library


We encourage you to participate in discussion with other attendees and speakers by using the Twitter hashtag #OpenEngaged2020. By registering for this conference and participating in the Twitter hashtag, we ask that you treat all organizers, speakers and other participants with respect.

Scholarly Communications Team

Contact email: [email protected]