So I want to let you in on a little secret about me. I have always wanted to write an article and be published in a journal. I can’t remember not wanting to do this. I think it was a leftover from my Dad. He is a geologist who has worked on numerous publications (his most recent book: Cape Fear River Indians). In grade 4 I decided to be a teacher; sometime after that I knew that I wanted to see my name in print. This blog, alas, does not fill this dream. I want to be in one of those journals I remember perusing when writing my papers at UVic or seeing with my Dad. I have recently been hearing about Open Access Journals and how some educators are boycotting traditional journals in favour of Open Access ones. I thought that I would have a look, to see what I think about the subject.
Where to start? I came across an article called called A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber which seemed like a good place. For those of you familiar with the concepts he has a much more detailed version called Open Access Overview and Six things that researchers need to know about open access (It also has a lot of resources).
The Open Access movement is meant to remove barriers from others reading the information. Journal subscriptions and articles are very expensive to purchase. University libraries can spend quite a bit of money on having access to information. If someone does not have access to a university collection, it can be very costly to become or remain informed.
There are two aspects to the Open Access movement. One is the journals themselves. The second is Open Achieves or Repositories. The first difference that I see between these two is peer review. Repositories or achieves are not required to perform a peer review, anything can, in theory, be deposited there. This does depends on the archive though. It does not mean that journals are not peer reviewed, so make sure you know what you are looking at. Journal authors are encouraged to archive their work so it can be found by others.
Open Access does not necessarily mean free. As journals traditionally do not pay for the article, the reviewers or even the editor, this continues with Open Access Journals. There are still cost associated with Open Access but the funding model looks different and can be different for each journal.
Pros of Open Access Journals:
- Access, Access, Access. There is access for everyone, not just those with money.
- Articles, and the people who write them, are not hidden behind walls but are visible to all.
- Less established people can publish.
Cons of Open Access Journals:
- There are some terrible journals out there, full of mistakes & plagiarism, willing to publish is payment is received. Science had a flawed ‘spoof‘ paper published in a variety of journals.
- In order to receive tenure, faculty often must publish in traditional format journals. By not doing so, one may risk career security.
Overall? I think Open Access Journals & Repositories are the way to go. I think I have to do a lot more research on the matter. In all things, research the journal, the source before using it. Make sure you search from a quality list. Try one of the ones listed below. I am not at the point where I have to worry about publishing. I want to get there one day, but I hope by then, I will be more familiar with the system.
My Goal: USE open journals next time I have to research for a paper. If I run in to a payment wall, maybe don’t log in with my University ID but try another route.
Here is a list of what various people and institutions can do to promote open access and what you should know about it. There are also publishers like Open Book Publishers that have a great repository of Open Books. The Directory of Open Access Journals has a list of Open Journals. You can also check out the Open Access Journals Search Engine. For Repositories try Directory of Open Access Repositories and Registry of Open Access Repositories.