In Common this week: Getting Access

Hi folks,

There has been a lot of activity on the Commons recently as a result of people thinking about what it means for material, spaces, nations and organizations to be accessible. It’s not just the Commons, either. The New York Times published an article this week about wheelchair access on NYC subways. There’s even a related, and effective, interactive video ride-along with a subway rider in a wheelchair. So this week I figured I’d give a shout out to some of the folks working on this important issue here on the Commons.

  • My favorite line from this twitter interview with @OpenAccessHulk is “PUNY BANNER SIGN AWAY OWN COPYRIGHT. PUBLISHER PAYWALL PUNY BANNER ARTICLE. PUBLISHER WEBSITE DEMAND PUNY BANNER PAY IF PUNY BANNER WANT READ OWN WORK.
    OA HULK BORN THAT DAY.” The interview dramatizes (in all caps!) the issues of open access for scholarly publications, but also blends social mediums an interesting way. The interview, posted on the Commons, makes use of twitter and Storify, a tool to cultivate narratives using social media posts. So the interview is interesting both because of its content and the way it makes use of the different social networks people use to share content.
  • Jenifer Polish penned a a thought-provoking piece on the importance of anti-ablest pedagogy and the types of questions thinking about dis/ability raise. She says that it’s the first in a series, so I’ll be on the look out for more.
  • The Open@CUNY blog posts about open access issues regularly (they also hosted the Open Access Hulk Interview mentioned above) and recently re-posted reports about the consequences of textbook marketers moving to access codes. Among other things, access codes work to prevent students from doing simple things like sharing textbooks and making photocopies–or these days, taking digital photos with their phones. This reduces accessibility to those without the ready cash to pay for expensive textbooks and requires they have internet connections to access the information.
  • Professor Janet Calvo at the CUNY Law school makes public an article she wrote in 2008 about the negative consequences of restricting immigrants’ access to health care. She argues how such restrictions negatively affect U.S. population broadly and the article is timely in the wake of the recent failure of the Republican Authored American Health Care Act. It is also a potent reminder that issues of immigrant’s access is not restricted to borders.

That’s it from me for this week.

All the best,

Paul

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