[-empyre-] Brief intro to OHP

David Ottina david.ottina at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 00:00:31 EST 2010

Thanks to Michael for the introduction. I'll go ahead and jump in with
a little background on Open Humanities Press. First allow me to
briefly introduce myself, if only to dispel any aura of enigma my
overly succinct bio might have created.

My background is in industry rather than academia. For the past 15
years I have defined and designed interactive systems that help people
use computational media to do what they think needs doing. In the
jargon of the trade, my specialty is Human-Computer Interaction. My
interest in academic publishing specifically, and knowledge production
in general, is largely animated and informed by this background.

Simply, Open Humanities Press is an academic publishing collective by
and for scholars (I'm the only nonacademic involved) that seeks to
carve out a space for scholarly discourse untrammeled by commercial
concerns. We do this primarily by creating a publishing brand under
which independent journals and book series editors can operate without
being systematically disadvantaged by the perverse incentives built
into the system of professional advancement that academics currently
face. Hopefully, this will allow academics to compete directly with
large commercial entities for control over knowledge production in
their areas. More specifics can be found at: openhumanitiespress.org

As opposed to other sectors within publishing, the primary value
creation in academic publishing is largely disassociated from the
monetary flows. For working academics at least, the issue of labour
appropriation raised by Emmett is less problematic. I suspect this is
why Emmett signaled at the outset that his comments did not apply to
academic publishing.

However, even as direct payment is less important, ownership,
authorship, control of access, etc.. emerge with a pronounced
ideological vigor. I think this makes academic publishing an
interesting site for the interplay between the technical formations of
digital reproduction/computational media and the regime of possessive

David Ottina
Open Humanities Press

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