The domain of scholarly publishing is undergoing rapid change. Change has been instigated and produced by the Internet and open access systems – such as disciplinary and institutional repositories and open access journals. However traditional scholarly publishing is strengthening its hold over prestigious journals thus resisting change. How then does the change come about? An attempt at answering this question led us to examine an institutional repository initiative in a University. As we identified and followed the actors (researchers, research papers, reward systems, technology, library staff, etc.) we saw the emergence of new publishing practices and the forces preserving the old ones. By adopting Actor Network Theory (ANT) we came to understand the materiality, relationality and ambiguity of processes of reassembling scholarly publishing. This paper thereby informs a wider debate and shaping of open access and scholarly publishing.