Open Access is an Equity Issue

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Date: October 26, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Category: Lecture

Session two in our Open Access Week Series



Cheryl Ball, director of digital publishing, University Libraries

Joshua Neds-Fox, coordinator for digital publishing, University Libraries


Library publishing primarily takes the form of digital publishing through open access, which means that research is made freely available to read with as few barriers as possible beyond basic internet access. From a library publisher’s perspective, open access publishing is an equity issue because it promotes the accessibility of research to audiences beyond the confines of economic indicators (i.e., who, or whose institution, has the financial resources to pay for the heavily inflated commercial subscriptions that most academic journals fall prey to). In addition, open access publishing often means that who gets counted as a researcher can be expanded, and what counts as scholarship is greatly expanded in ways that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion far greater than the market-driven methods that print-based scholarship allows. DEI effort are fundamental to many library publishers, not just through open-access publishing but also through the recognition of and necessity for change within the discipline and practice itself. Librarianship and publishing are both majority white disciplines (89 and 87%, per Inefuku and Roh, 2016, So, in early 2021 when the Library Publishing Coalition's (LPC) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force published their Roadmap for Anti-Racist Action ( guiding document with short-, mid- and long-term actions that LPC can undertake to advance equity in its organization, communities, and in library publishing as a discipline—it provided a moment for Wayne State University’s library publishing unit to reflect on how such a document could be adapted to promote anti-racist and more equitable publishing practices in our own organization. At the same time, other groups and organizations were creating similar action-oriented documents, such as the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications’s (C4DISC) Joint Statement of Principles and a group of researchers from the field of technical communication who authored a statement on Anti-racist Scholarly Reviewing Practices: A Heuristic for Editors, Reviewers, and Authors. This session will outline the mission of open-access publishing within libraries with a focus on anti-racist and DEI efforts and discuss how these organizations’ equity statements and guidelines offer a pro-active foundation for authors, reviewers, and editors to develop strategic anti-racist and anti-oppressive initiatives in their own spheres of influence.Presntation from Cheryl Ball, director of 


Veronica Bielat


October 2021