Open Access and Impact

British Library Additional 10293 f.261r: Detailing a novice having her hair cut by the abbess of the White Nuns.

This weeks ‘Things’ cover research impact and open access and I have chosen to focus particularly on open access in this blog post as, although I still consider myself to be a novice when it comes to academic publishing, I strongly feel that open access is an extremely important development in the world of research. Indeed, my first article ‘Fairies, Monsters and the Queer Otherworld: Otherness in Sir Orfeo’, part of MEMSA’s first conference journal, has been made freely available via My experience writing the article, and working with the editors Natalie Goodison and Alexander J. Wilson, was a great first foray into publishing and I am pleased that anyone interested in queer theory, otherness, or Sir Orfeo can easily access this piece of work.

In my field of medieval studies, open access has been a widely discussed issue for some time and there have been many pioneering developments in recent years:

Punctum Books – co-founded by Professor Eileen Joy and Professor Nicola Masciandaro in 2011, punctum books is an open-access and print-on-demand independent publisher that encourages innovative projects that do not necessarily conform to scholarly conventions.

The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales – an exciting ongoing project edited by Professor Candace Barrington, Professor Brantley Bryant, Dr Richard H. Godden, Professor Daniel T. Kline, and Professor Myra Seaman that encourages interaction and participation from the readers. It also provides essays from an international team of scholars on the content and context of the Tales. 

Hortulus – An open access online graduate journal of medieval studies. As it is a multidisciplinary journal, it covers a vast array of interesting research from around the world.

Although I have listed just a few of many examples, they highlight the ways in which open access has become increasingly utilised in medieval studies in innovative and exciting ways. I hope that in my future endeavours I can take a more active role in these changing attitudes to publishing academic research alongside more traditional avenues of scholarly discourse and dissemination.




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