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Library Journal Board Resigns On "Crisis of Conscience" After Swartz Death 128

c0lo writes "The editor-in-chief and entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration announced their resignation last week, citing 'a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access' in the days after the death of Aaron Swartz. The board had worked with publisher Taylor & Francis on an open-access compromise in the months since, which would allow the journal to release articles without paywall, but Taylor & Francis' final terms asked contributors to pay $2,995 for each open-access article. As more and more contributors began to object, the board ultimately found the terms unworkable. The journal's editor-in-chief said 'After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2995 per article fee to be paid by the author. As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community who are generally not conducting research under large grants.'"
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Library Journal Board Resigns On "Crisis of Conscience" After Swartz Death

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  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @08:21PM (#43298441)

    The things is that there is mostly nothing to be paid. the editor-in-chief and the editorial board is not generally paid. The reviewers are not paid. Most readers access electronic versions and the paper version are almost never opened. So the actual cost is extremely low for the publisher. The only thing the publisher provide now a days is grammar check and spell check and text layouting. Anybody that worked in the field would tell you that mostly that part of the job is not properly done, especially text layouting. I often need multiple rounds with the publisher before I agree on their text layout.

    So in brief they do not produce anything of value on the documentitself. They do print it but nobody cares. They do provide web access. But that could be done as the physicists do by publishing everything in arxiv first.

  • by SteveFoerster ( 136027 ) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @08:41PM (#43298563) Homepage

    Yes. Have journals be online, for example using free software for that purpose like Open Journal Systems [], and have faculty members run them as part of their job description. Some successful and long running journals already operate this way.

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @09:48PM (#43298951)

    It seems reasonable that a publisher would have to recover costs and make a profit. If they can not recover it from subscription the only other choice is to charge contributors. Publishers are not charities. According to this annual report [] Taylor & Francis' parent compant made a 27% profit in the Academic Information sector and 7% overall. Without that cash cow the company is not viable.

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @05:48AM (#43301035)

    I'd like to see some evidence that publishing a journal requires each article to be costed at 2995 dollars (a suspicious looking figure to me).

    I'm an academic. I get asked to peer review articles for free. We do it as part of our workload. I have colleagues who edit journals. They do this for free. I author articles: I do this within the costs of my project, the journal gets my article for free. Authors work for free, reviewers work for free, editors work for free. It's just the production and publicity team that get paid (the publishing house). We don't even expect them to roll the presses and produce paper versions these days, we are happy with web links to PDFs.

    So we need to think hard about what the costs are in putting an online journal live onto the internet.

    Why do academics continue to publish in closed journals? because generally they are still the high impact ones (with a very few exceptions). So I, and many other contract researchers like me, tend to publish in closed journals because these look better on the cv. Philosophical high ground is all well and good but when you've got a child to feed and a house to pay for you have to be pragmatic and keep in a job.

    I can imagine this might change over the next 20 years or so as more and more folk start open access journals and they are gradually given greater impact ratings.

    Personally I think we're going to see a few universities taking the lead with open access journals and this might break into the monopoly held by a small number of publishers right now. If you're doing it not-for-profit you can do it cheaper than a commercial publishing house that has to show profit to its shareholders.

  • by delt0r ( 999393 ) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @08:20AM (#43301671)

    1) Cranks and trolls are not a problem in academic publishing, it never was a problem, and it isn't expected to be a problem in the future.

    There are plenty of them. There will always be plenty of them. Clearly you have not done much reviewing. Some even gets through sometimes.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban