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open access

Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia


Since 2001 the open access model of ephemera has been operating in opposition to corporate academic publishing, and we are not alone in this struggle. While for-profit publishers have been finding new ways to appropriate and capitalise on academic knowledge and the very idea of open access (ephemera collective, this issue), a colourful multiplicity of alternatives has emerged. This contribution aims to make these alternatives visible, showing a whole variety of ways in which they challenge the status quo within and beyond publishing and academia.

The wonderfully organized and mediated endurance of ephemera


There used to be a time, in the late noughties and early teens, when at ephemera editorial collective meetings an item would sneak onto the agenda: the closure of ephemera. I joined ephemera as a member of the editorial collective in 2007, and left 10 years later. Especially during the early years of my time with ephemera, there was a sense in which the name of the journal was taken quite seriously: if the journal is to be ephemeral, when has our time come? When is the time to call it a day?

Pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing

This issue celebrates 20 years of ephemera. We, the editorial collective, feel this anniversary provides the opportunity to debate the pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing. Today, most academic journals are owned by commercial publishing houses and organized according to journal rankings and impact factors. Yet ephemera remains stubbornly independent of these global capitalist forces. In this anniversary issue, we want to raise questions about independence – independent thinking, independent publication, independent organizing.

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