Going a Step Further Than Open Access and Open Source: COVE and the Promise of Open Assembly | Victorians Institute Journal | Scholarly Publishing Collective

Abstract:  This articles asks if the principles of open source and open access are sufficient to safeguard our intellectual labor and to guard against the predatory logic of a world dominated by capitalist systems of production and dissemination. Both open source and open access face a similar problem, as it happens: neglect and obsolescence, as well as the most pernicious Achilles’ heel of the vast majority of digital humanities initiatives: long-term sustainability. COVE offers an alternative to both long-term sustainability and the collective sharing of content.

Two principles currently govern the work of the digital humanities: open access, the notion that content should be freely accessible to all without paywalls or other restrictions; and open source, software whose underlying source code is made freely available for reuse and modification. COVE, which stands for Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education at covecollective.org, subscribes to both principles: we support an open-access publication platform, COVE Editions, where we publish material such as scholarly editions after they are put through peer review, revision, and copyediting; we also support the open-source movement by using and modifying open-source tools like TimelineJS, Open Layers, Drupal, and Annotation Studio, and sharing our code through a GitHub repository.

However, COVE seeks to go a little further by asking if the principles of open source and open access are sufficient to safeguard our intellectual labor and to guard against the predatory logic of a world dominated by capitalist systems of production and dissemination. Both open source and open access face a similar problem, as it happens: neglect and obsolescence, as well as the most pernicious Achilles’ heel of the vast majority of digital humanities initiatives, long-term sustainability. COVE offers an alternative to both long-term sustainability and the collective sharing of content.