Published April 30, 2019 | Version v3
Presentation Open

Platform Capitalism and the Governance of Knowledge Infrastructure

  • 1. University of Toronto Scarborough


This is the slide deck for the closing keynote at the Digital Initiative Symposium, held at the University of San Diego, April 29-30, 2019.

The dominant academic publishers are busy positioning themselves to monetize not only on content, but increasingly on data analytics and predictive products on research assessment and funding trends. Their growing investment and control over the entire knowledge production workflow, from article submissions, to metrics to reputation management and global rankings means that researchers and their institutions are increasingly locked into the publishers’ “value chain”. I will discuss some of the implications of this growing form of “surveillance capitalism” in the higher education sector and what it means in terms of the autonomy of the researchers and the academy. The intent is to call attention to the need to support community-governed infrastructure and to rethink our understanding of “openness” in terms of consent and social values.

Special thanks to Giulia Forsythe (Associate Director, Centre for Pedagogical Innovation. Brock University, Canada) for the illustration on slide#24, "This is not a healthy 'ecosystem" of knowledge."


Digital Initiative Symposium Platform capitalism Chan v3.pdf

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