Enormous Open Access Phenomenology Project

A new project—The Open Commons of Phenomenology—aims to provide an open access digital platform for “the entire corpus of phenomenology,” including canonical texts, research related to phenomenology, and other materials, by 2020. The project, begun last year, is the work of Patrick Flack (Charles University Prague) and Rodney Parker (University of Western Ontario), is supported by Nicolas de Warren (KU Leuven) and the Husserl Archives, and aims to address what they see as a lack of access to resources and the scarcity of information about philosophers at the turn of the 20thcentury,

A crowdfunding campaign for the project is currently underway on Indiegogo. There’s a video and more information about that here.

I asked the creators to share with Daily Nous readers further information about the project. They wrote:

The Open Commons of Phenomenology is a digital platform that aims to share in open access the entire corpus of phenomenology by 2020. Its current database contains about 12000 bibliographic entries, and about a quarter of these link to open access pdfs. Husserl’s complete works, including Husserliana volumes 1-28 are already available, along with exhaustive bibliographies of Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger. Unlike PhilPapers (which the Open Commons seek to complement rather than rival), each entry is hand checked for accuracy. Indeed, the Open Commons aims to be more than another online repository in the vein of archive.org or Google Books. It sees its mission as a truly editorial or “curatorial” one, for example by providing new, high-quality digitised editions of works in phenomenology.

The Open Commons also aims to provide a virtual work environment and a social platform for phenomenologist. As such, it hosts blogs from a number of phenomenological societies and research institutes, such as the Husserl Archives in Leuven, the prestigious Center for Subjectivity Research in Copenhagen, and the North American Society for Early Phenomenology. A blogroll on the main site keeps you up-to-date on new content. The Open Commons also publish the online, open access journal Phenomenological Reviews (which is similar to Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews) and will soon host Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy and further publications.

The Open Commons’ ever growing repository of texts promises to be enhanced with a number of powerful tools, such as interactive timelines and genealogies of phenomenologists and psychologists, .xml versions of texts which can be linked through embedded citations, and tools for cutting and pasting quotes which will automatically generate a citation in whichever format you want according to publisher preferences. It will also provide features to annotate texts, to aggregate these annotations into new scholarly editions and tools to efficiently compare editions and translations of a given work. These tools will be developed as open software and be made available to other platforms.

They hope to raise $35,000 by the end of July with the crowdfunding campaign. Those funds will support the expansion of their online database of texts, the digitization of the works by Husserl that are in the public domain, and the launch of a first set of translation projects.

Additionally, they write:

Two equally important goals of the campaign are to demonstrate support across the phenomenological community and to involve researchers, institutes and societies directly in the platform’s development and management. The Open Commons hopes to create the community of phenomenological researchers that Husserl had dreamed of. It’s a worthy cause (even if you aren’t a phenomenologist), and one that philosophers with the means should back, as this article argues. 

Here are some further related links: about the Open Commons, about Open Access, and why the North American Society for Early Phenomenology supports Open Commons.

Open Commons Phenomenology Logo

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Thank you for sharing this great news.

Daniel Mattes Durrett
Daniel Mattes Durrett
7 years ago

Thank you for this important news