“Precedented”: Public Health, Open Access Infrastructure, and Interrogating Power in Repository Debates

This poster is part of the Open Repositories 2021 Poster Session which takes place in the week of June 7-10. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster by using the comments feature. Authors will respond to comments during this week.


Kate Dohe and Michael Scott

Poster description:

In January 2020, researchers released the initial DNA sequence for the COVID-19 virus on Twitter, bypassing both traditional publication models and institutional open infrastructure in the interest of expediency. The
global pandemic has drawn open scientific publishing into the spotlight in the mainstream American press over the past year, and citizens outside the Western research community are gaining new exposure to longstanding scholarly communications debates about public health and open science. Unlike many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this is not “unprecedented”–freely accessible health information was also the impetus for the open access movement in Latin America years ahead of comparable efforts in the United States, and it continues with great success today. However, discussions of these platforms in USbased publications have centered on questions of prestige and functionality, rather than reach and stability- concepts that are rooted in imperialist, English-first thinking. This poster will highlight the early history of open access repositories in Latin America, their focus on regionally-produced scientific research rather than institutional efforts, the current state of these projects, and apply a critical lens to Western discourse about these projects and their impact.

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About the authors:

Michael Scott (Presenting author) is an Associate Editor/Librarian at the Hispanic American Periodicals Index, UCLA, although he works from home in Pittsburgh. He has worked as a catalog librarian at Vanderbilt and Yale Universities, and in Latin Americanist collection development and reference services at Georgetown University. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Latin American and Iberian literatures from the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Kate Dohe is the Manager of the Digital Programs & Initiatives department in the University of Maryland Libraries. Kate’s team oversees day-to-day activities related to digital repository management, digital preservation, research data services, and electronic publishing. Select publications include “Care, Code, and Digital Libraries: Embracing Critical Practice in Digital Library Communities” (In the Library with the Lead Pipe), and “Linked Data, Unlinked Communities” (Lady Science).


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