Samuel Moore (2019). Revisiting ‘the 1990s debutante’: scholar-led publishing and the pre-history of the open access movement. [Preprint], Humanities Commons. http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/gty2-w177
The movement for open access publishing is often said to have its roots in the scientific disciplines, having been popularised by scientific publishers and formalised through a range of top-down policy interventions. But there is an often-neglected pre-history of open access that can be found in the early DIY publishers of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Managed entirely by working academics, these journals published research in the humanities and social sciences and stand out for their unique set of motivations and practices. This article explores this separate lineage in the history of the open access movement through a critical-theoretical analysis of the motivations and practices of the early scholar-led publishers. Alongside showing the involvement of the humanities and social sciences in the formation of open access, the analysis reveals the importance that these journals placed on experimental practices, critique of commercial publishing and the desire to reach new audiences. Understood in today’s context, this research is significant for adding complexity to the history of open access, which policymakers, advocates and publishing scholars should keep in mind as open access goes mainstream.