In my role at Punctum Books — which is focused on community and infrastructural development — I witness daily the ways in which our publications and advocacy work build connection among scholars, librarians, artists, civic leaders, and the public. I’m convinced, in new ways each day, that open publishing is the pathway necessary for academic research to thrive, for education to meet our needs, and for everyone to become more engaged and proactive in shaping a better world.
And if you are like me and believe that scholarship should be available to everyone around the world without barriers to entry, then we should consider some of the ways in which Punctum Books is doing unique and critical work to advance open access publishing, and why you should become part of that effort by joining Punctum’s Fall Membership Drive.
Punctum Books is one of the few publishing houses in the world founded on principles of open access. We believe that an ability to access knowledge is a right for every person. This right is not constrained to exclusive credentials, geographical location, or a time period. Having persisted for over a decade, and now in producing nearly 50 books a year, Punctum Books demonstrates that a publisher can thrive with open values.
Punctum believes in open access because we know that scholarship is relevant, impactful, and beneficial to people everywhere. We live out our values in opposition to capitalistic and neoliberal trends in higher education. Our books, in their uncompromised expression, affirm our assertion that all are welcome. Punctum is brave and outspoken in its advocacy and such a position should be ratified by a community.
Not only does open publishing allow more people to read or learn from research, but it also has the effect of proliferating the development of scholarship, welcoming more people into this exchange and dialogue. Punctum’s readership and authorship reflects a more inclusive vision of the scholarly commons. We are global, a panoply of languages, within and outside of the academy. Our commitment to openness provides new vocabulary to this way of sharing knowledge, extending beyond content and into community.
Whether or not we face serious challenges as a society — and we most certainly do — sharing and publishing our knowledge brings us together for shared support to weather storms. When Punctum was founded in 2011, an open access press was our way of building new modes of community and finding better ways to care for one another.
Not only have we been able to build community among authors and readers, but Punctum has helped overturn entrenched ways of doing business in the publishing sector by forming new alliances with like-minded publishers, developing partnerships with important stakeholders in scholarly publishing, and leading projects that have the potential to transform our field.
Punctum has done important and necessary work to make scholarship for all. As the press continues to welcome more people, the community has in turn helped shape our editorial mission. We publish to expand fields of study away from a single language or region, to present the beautiful marriage of theory and fiction, to form new relationships with our world; because education needs change, as do people. We publish because we all deserve joy, thrill, and love. Because we should expand our horizons and sometimes get out of our planet. We can even get a few laughs or make some music together.
Punctum’s catalogue reflects our belief that creative and rigorous work are one in the same. Our scholars are artists and our artists are scholars.
Punctum Books is now nearly a decade old, produces 50 books a year, and has a trajectory that will make all scholarship more open and accessible to people throughout the world. We face serious challenges on local and global levels, and it’s a particularly overwhelming of late. But what keeps me going is the hope that we can find better ways to share knowledge, to get together, to communicate, and in so doing, build the lives we envision for ourselves and our loved ones. Punctum Books is trailblazing in that regard, and this community organization can do even more with your help. So please join us, support in any way you can, participate, give us a shout with your ideas. Please consider donating what you can or becoming a sustaining member during our Fall Membership Drive: https://punctumbooks.com/support/