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The process of digitization has transformed the ways in which content is reproduced and circulated online, rupturing long held distinctions between production and consumption in the (virtual) public sphere. In accordance with these developments over the past fifteen years, proponents for open access publishing in higher education have argued that the (not yet absolute) transition from physical to digital modes of journal production opens up unprecedented opportunities for redressing the restrictive terms of ownership and access currently perpetuated within an increasingly untenable journal publishing industry. Through this article, I advocate that the sociology of sport community hastens to question, challenge and reimagine its position within this industry in anticipation of a reformed publishing landscape. The impetus for the paper is to ask not whether sociologists of sport should or should not publish open access, but rather as open access publishing inevitably comes to pass in some form, what say will the field’s associations, societies and members have in these changes, and how might they help invigorate a public sociology of sport?
Weedon is with the School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.