Digital Humanities

Nathalie's Thoughts

“Giving it Away” or the “Ecology of Freedom”: Review of Composition Rhetoric Open Access Journals

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I love Fitzpatrick’s use of “giving it away” as a way of approaching open access. For Fitzpatrick, passing on information, or sharing it, is the ethical way of building upon scholarship. And in fact, “stealing” knowledge is not a new concern as Lessig poses. This scary idea that nothing is new and everything is kind of plagiarism reminds me of a great article by Jonathan Lethem titled “The Ecstasy of Influence.” Lethem also discusses Mickey Mouse and Disney. It also reminds me of Lessig’s talk on TED. Lethem’s piece is a remix of a bunch of other sources in order to prove a point about originality. Lessig makes the important conclusion in his talk, “openness is a commitment to a certain set of values. We need to speak of those values. The value of freedom. It’s a value of community. It’s a value of the limits in regulation. It’s a value respecting the creator.” Community becomes valued in open access works. Audience becomes larger, there are more writers, more people are engaged in the conversation. Both Fitzpatrick and Lessig describe the values we should be thinking about as scholars – “giving it away” or “building an ecology of freedom.” As Lessig argues, it’s a system of freedom that should be encouraged.  He says, “Openness is a commitment to a certain set of values. We need to speak of those values. The value of freedom. It’s a value of community. It’s a value of the limits in regulation. It’s a value respecting the creator.” 

With the internet, this all becomes more complex, but from the grad student perspective, who has known no other way of finding information without the internet, I love finding awesome online publications that are freely available to me. I’ve posted about Kairos and the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, because I genuinely am excited about going to those sites and reading all of this stuff for free! I’m not limited in any way, rather free to find and engage in the larger conversation. Kairos and DRC are  two spaces online are not the only ones that are excellent resources. I’m listing four publications that focus on composition, rhetoric, digital rhetoric and pedagogies that are all open access.

Hybrid Pedagogy –

: is not ideologically neutral;
: connects discussions of critical pedagogy, digital pedagogy, and online pedagogy;
: brings higher education and K-12 teachers into conversation with the e-learning and open education communities;
: considers our personal and professional hybridity;
: disrupts distinctions between students, teachers, and learners;
: explores the relationship between pedagogy and scholarship;
: invites its audience to participate in (and be an integral part of) the peer review process;
: and thus interrogates (and makes transparent) academic publishing practices.

The peer review process for this journal  is a collaborative one. In thinking about Fitzpatricks’ ideas about coauthorship and collaboration, Sean Michael Morris writes in regard to the collaborative peer review process, “Throughout the collaborative peer review process, the author’s own feelings about his writing are as important as the opinions of the editors. We in the process are a fellowship, all editors, all writers.” A journal like Hybrid Pedagogy values engagement and dialogue as Lessig and Fitzpatrick emphasize and we can see this through their style of peer review. As I wander the website, I’m overwhelmed by the quantity of useful information and articles available to me. In addition to the published articles, there are tweets from @hybyridped and also hashtags that are most commonly associated with the articles. The editors of this journal are a mix of professors and graduate students interested in digital rhetoric.

Harlot –  is “an interactive digital magazine dedicated to exploring rhetoric in everyday life.” What is awesome about this publication is the wide range of topics published here by a wide range of people creating a larger audience as the argument in “Hacking the Academy” states. In this journal, there are articles about mothers’ identities and the use of pintrest to recently graduated college students writing about “fill in the blank.” The one that I clicked on was a girl blogging about the female audience of beer culture. There’s an awesome article about emojis and the literacies and cultures that surround emoji icons. Pretty cool! I couldn’t completely figure out who makes up the editorial board. Whenever I clicked a name, it took me to a page, with a name and no biographical information.

Journal of Digital Humanities – “The Journal of Digital Humanities is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed, open access journal that features the best scholarship, tools, and conversations produced by the digital humanities community in the previous trimester.” From what I understand, there is no formal submission process. The editors of the journal are volunteers titled Editors at Large. These individuals volunteer, rotate roles and nominate pieces for publication. From what I understand, this can be anybody. All you have to do is register. Basically, you promise to work 1 hour a day for a week that you say you have time to work for. Once you register, you receive an email and are invited to wordpress to being the work. Kind of amazing. The writers for this journal are also diverse. I see graduate students and also scholars of the field, such as Matthew Gold.

Enculturation – “is a refereed journal devoted to contemporary theories of rhetoric, writing, and culture. We accept academic work in all media forms suitable for web-based publication, including conventional.” The editors of this publication are graduate students and professors. After reading the Journal of Digital Humanities website, I became interested in the peer review process. Enculturation is different in that it’s a blind peer reviewed journal. The editor, if he or she thinks the submission fits the journal, will pass the work along to the board. I really find the Journal of Digital Humanities‘ approach interesting, as to me, it really highlights the values Lessig and Fitzpatrick emphasize.


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