This issue celebrates 20 years of ephemera. We, the editorial collective, feel this anniversary provides the opportunity to debate the pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing. Today, most academic journals are owned by commercial publishing houses and organized according to journal rankings and impact factors. Yet ephemera remains stubbornly independent of these global capitalist forces. In this anniversary issue, we want to raise questions about independence – independent thinking, independent publication, independent organizing. In doing so, we seek to position critical open access publishing as a vehicle for producing radiant ideas, inciting political action, exploring heterotopic spaces, and inventing alternative futures.