22 September 2007

Good news for Open Access

Good news on the Open Access front. The Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie is moving from toll access (i.e., subscription based) to open access. Keven Haggerty, the editor of CJS/CCS, writes in his editorial:

The financial implications of this move remain somewhat opaque, and I have agonized over this issue. The situation of independent scholarly publishing in Canadian has always been precarious. This is particularly true with the CJS/CCS which does not receive any association funds. Retiring the hard copy version of the journal eliminates subscription revenue, which is one of our major sources of funding. That said, mimicking wider publishing trends, the journal’s subscriptions have been substantially declining at the same time that our electronic readership (through Project MUSE and other venues) has increased dramatically. Moreover, it was always the case that most of our subscription revenues went to cover the costs associated with producing a hard copy volume, such as printing, subscription management and postage.

He goes on to note that CJS/CCS has been subsidised by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, but he expects to continue to receive these funds, since the SSHRC is an advocate of open access.

Many scholarly journals, published by universities and university presses must be in very similar situations - living off subsidy and subscriptions, the latter paying for most of the paper-associated costs (as well as those of maintaining the record of subscribers). With the move to OA, such costs are wiped out at an instant and what is then need to live on is a very much smaller amount of money. In the case of Information Research it is a zero amount of money, since there is no income and no monetary subsidy. Perhaps with this example, and the example of new scholarly journals taking the free OA track from the beginning, universities will begin to realise the advantages of OA. True OA - not the author-charge model - what I have called the Platinum Route.

This news picked up from Heather Morrison, via Peter Suber

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