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OLA: Session 321 Publishing Open access journals

Publishing Open Acces Journals at your University
Speaker: Wayne Johnston, University of Guelph.

This session unfortunately had low attendance, but I guess that means the rest of us had a better opportunity to interact with the speaker. I found this session to integrate really well into the theme of the conference (right brain of librarianship) because publishing open access journals really is an innovative area and does bring out the aspects of empathy, symphony and design (as mentioned yesterday).

The University of Guelph currently publishes two e-journals: Critical Studies in Improvisation and Guelph Ichthyology Reviews. Critical studies is a new e-journal, whereas the other was originally published in print.

U of Guelph uses OJS (Open Journal Systems) by Public Knowledge Project to host its journals. OJS is now in version 2.

Wayne talked a bit about why open access is a good idea, and necessary (freely available, immediately available, complete, reader’s can use/copy/disseminate as long as integrity preserved and cited). He also talked a fair bit about the Budapest Open Access Initiative as well as some other people and orgs such as SPARC, Public Library of Science and Peter Suber.

Most of us know that the cost of scholarly publication is skyrocketing, and libraries have to pay outrageous amounts for journals, especially in areas such as the sciences. Open Access journals helps provide a place for researchers to exchange ideas freely – much more easily than with commerical publications. There are two concerns with open access e-journals: cost and prestige. I think there must be alternative ways to funding – we have to use our imagination and design a system that works. As for prestige, that is something that will change over time. Currenty there are about 300 e-journals hosted using OJS, many (or most?) are refereed journals and go through the same or similar process of submission and review as commercial publications. As more and more faculty and researchers start to use these e-journals, their acceptance will grow. [a little side note: at dinner tonight we talked a bit about ISI and got into impact factors; how often do you think that happens!?!]

And just think about this. If the price of publication and dissemination of research in Canada is so high, libraries and researchers are struggling with costs, what about other areas of the world? Wayne mentioned how researchers all over the world have to publish in journals from the “North” and so find the costs too exorbitant, and their institutions have a hard time subscribing to them all. How is that any good for progress? They have to pay to get it published and then pay to get access to it, it seems.

So open access journals are certainly the way of the future (and present) in my lowly opinion, but we have to keep working on it. FYI OJS is only one journal management system, there are 28 more listed on SPARC.

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About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.

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