WP318 Working papers for a more open academy

Rampton, Bock, Borba, Charalambous, Cooke & Pérez-Milans


What contribution can working papers (WPs) make to a more open academy, and where do they stand in current debates about Open Science?  They used to provide speedier publication and feedback as well as cost-free/low-cost access, but with the availability of digital repositories like PURE or ResearchGate, do WPs still have a role?  To answer these questions, this paper refers to Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies (WPULL; www.wpull.org).  It argues that WPs can play a significant role community-building around shared interests, and within an overarching commitment to deliberative, dialogical reasoning, WPs can be more flexible in genre and audience than a journal, and more responsive to circumambient situations and events – key qualities if applied linguistics focuses on ‘real-world problems’ that require the attention of a variety of stakeholders.  Building on a principled understanding of knowledge-making as a situated cultural practice, WPs can be open and reflexive about their geo-historical grounding, provide a view of academic work ‘in the round’ rather than just in its highly styled end-products, and make a low-tech contribution to intellectual decolonisation.  Where a standardising universalist model of Open Access might see working papers as sloppy and elitist vehicles for self-promotion, the case of WPULL argues for the substantial contribution that WPs can make to a vigorous and more open economy of knowledge.