top of page

Reflecting on #OpenScience versus #OpenComm

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

[Citation: Ramasubramanian, S. (May 25, 2020). Reflecting on #OpenScience versus #OpenComm, Blog, Accessible at:]

Just calling something does not make it open. An open door is not the same as being welcoming. 

Open Science is focused on data sharing and transparency. But what it misses is that transparency is a two-way stress. Cultural humility and active listening are as much as part of open science as sharing one’s data publicly. 

Outreach is not the same as community engagement.

Given the long history of stealing and appropriation of labor, ideas, and cultures by colonial European powers, the thought of opening up one’s experiences can be trauma-inducing if it does not consider power differences.

#OpenComm is about opening up comm to minoritized scholars. Top Comm journal reviewers and editors should stop asking us, “why is your N so small?”

#OpenScience often extracts data, ideas, and labor from “vulnerable” groups for scientific merit. #OpenComm understands that under-resourced groups are often overexploited.

Photo by: Markus Spiske

#OpenComm is an invitation/call:

  1. to (again) bridge the quant/qual divide to bring in more multiperspectival approaches to comm methods

  2. to go beyond siloed ideas of comm as science, arts, and humanities to integrate, learn and listen openly with respect

  3. to be more community-driven and social justice oriented by centering voices, agency, lived experiences, and needs of those in the margins

  4. for quant computational social scientists (and all of us) to be more open to critical, reflexive, and inclusive approaches to research design and practices to not reinforce existing power differentials in #opensciences

  5. to value, reward, and support comm work based on social impact beyond only scholarly impact ( impact factors, h-indices, metrics, and citations)

  6. to make comm scholarship more accessible, socially-relevant, legible, jargon-free

  7. to listen to intersectional feminist, anticolonial, indigenous critiques of #openscience

  8. to consider who benefits from #OpenScience and whose interests are erased, unheard, and ignored in #OpenComm and how to address those inequalities

  9. to think about what grammars, accents, languages are legitimized and amplified as “excellent” or “beautiful” writing, speaking, tweeting within Anglo-Eurocentric comm scholarship

  10. to remove the structural barriers (access to libraries, grant funds, English language, lab space, RAs, postdocs, admin support for editorship) that prevent scholars of color, women, those in Global South to publish in top comm journals

  11. to consider that whiteness is a discipline-wide issue and that we need to be intentional and deliberate in including those in the margins of #openscience

  12. to support collaborations with researchers, artists, activists, community leaders, etc across disciplines and sectors for more community-driven socially relevant meaningful inclusive comm scholarship.


bottom of page