Event — Discussion

Open Access and Digital Libraries. An Open Conversation

This event aims to openly discuss the reality of open access in academic research and the importance of digital libraries, including those that operate on the fringes of legality, challenging the notion of the right to knowledge.

For this discussion, we will be joined by Bodó Balázs (Institute for Information Law, UvA) and Dominik Haas (co-founder of The Initiative for Fair Open Access in South Asian Studies and IIAS/Gonda Research Fellow), who will both give a short presentation. 

The conversation will be moderated by Laura Erber (IIAS Fellowship Coordinator, Zazie Edições co-founder).

Anyone is welcome to join the discussion, but we ask that you register as seating is limited.

The Presentations

Radical open access: scholarly shadow libraries, their benefits, and limitations

By Bodó Balázs

Bodó Balázs will discuss the cases of Anna’s Archive, Library Genesis, and SciHub, providing a nuanced and enriching contextualisation of these complex phenomena. Many students and academics rely on these copyright infringing resources to study, research, work. How do they work? How are they organized? What role do they play in local, national knowledge production ecosystem? What is their relationship to other open access initiatives?

The Initiative for Fair Open Access in South Asian Studies

By Dominik Haas

The Initiative for Fair Open Access Publishing (FOA) in South Asian Studies was founded in 2020 by two scholars from Vienna, Vitus Angermeier and Dominik A. Haas, and is currently led by a team consisting of Chiara Livio (Utrecht University) and its founders (https://foasas.org/). We are convinced that fair and open access to publications is particularly important in a field that involves authors and readers from very diverse financial and institutional backgrounds, and that transforming academic publishing in this field is vital for it to thrive and flourish. Based on the premise that it is best to promote FOA from within the individual disciplines, our aim is to raise awareness about the crisis in academic publishing among our colleagues and to offer solutions for this crisis. In my presentation, I will talk about why and how the Initiative came about, what it does and aims to do, and the challenges we face.

The Speakers

Bodó Balázs (PhD 1975) is an Associate Professor and a socio-legal researcher at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. He was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society in 2006/7. In 2012/13 he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In 2013 he moved to Amsterdam as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. In 2018 he received an ERC Starting Grant to study the legal, and political implications of blockchain based technologies, and started the Blockchain & Society Policy Research Lab. In 2019 he has been a senior visiting fellow at the Weizenbaum-Institut für die vernetzte Gesellschaft, Berlin. He is the founding (co)director of the University of Amsterdam’s interdisciplinary research area on Trust in the digital society. His academic interests include digital piracy, decentralized techno-social systems, shadow libraries, informal media economies, regulatory conflicts around new technological architectures, and trust. 

Dominik A. Haas completed his doctorate at the University of Vienna in 2022. His publications, lectures, and courses deal with various aspects of Sanskrit literature and the cultural and religious history of South Asia, in particular with Vedic texts, mantras, and yoga. Following an interdisciplinary approach, he combines philological and historical research with methods and insights from various fields, ranging from digital humanities to text linguistics, religious studies, and archaeoastronomy. 

His research has been supported by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), and the University of Vienna. In 2023, his dissertation was awarded the Roland Atefie Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. 

As co-founder of the Initiative for Fair Open Access Publishing in South Asian Studies, Haas is also involved in promoting innovative forms of scholarly communication, and fair working conditions in the academic and publishing sector.   

Laura Erber (moderator)

The conversation will be moderated by Laura Erber, who not only serves as the IIAS Fellowship Coordinator but has also been directing an open-access publication initiative in Portuguese since 2015, Zazie Edições. 

Registration (required)

Registration is required due to limited seating, but we welcome anyone interested in these topics to join the discussion! Please use the web form on this page to register.