Open or ajar?: ‘openness’ within the neoliberal academy

Simon Bowie, Kevin Sanders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


The terms 'open' and 'openness' are widely used across the current higher education environment particularly in the areas of repository services and scholarly communications. Open-access licensing and open-source licensing are two prevalent manifestations of open culture within higher education research environments. As theoretical ideals, open-licensing models aim at openness and academic freedom. But operating as they do within the context of global neoliberalism, to what extent are these models constructed by, sustained by, and co-opted by neoliberalism? In this paper, we interrogate the use of open-licensing within scholarly communications and within the larger societal context of neoliberalism. Through synthesis of various sources, we will examine how open access licensing models have been constrained by neoliberal or otherwise corporate agendas, how open access and open scholarship have been reframed within discourses of compliance, how open-source software models and software are co-opted by politico-economic forces (Barron & Preater, 2018), and how the language of 'openness' is widely misused in higher education and repository services circles to drive agendas that run counter to actually increasing openness. We will finish by suggesting ways to resist this trend and use open-licensing models to resist neoliberal agendas in open scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Repositories 2019
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventOpen Repositories - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 10 Jun 201913 Jun 2019


ConferenceOpen Repositories


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