[Sigpub-l] Open Access publishing & ASIST publications

Michael Leach mrleach at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Apr 2 11:09:44 EST 2004

Dear colleagues:

     There have been a number of ongoing discussions (see, for instance,
liblicense-l) in our profession on Open Access (OA) journals-what this
publishing model means for readers, authors, libraries and societies.

     As a practicing library manager (of science libraries), who must pay
incredible prices for STM journals (many above the $10K price per year)
and as an active member in ASIST, I am interested in determining what
impact, if any, the Open Access (OA) model could/would/should have on
ASIST publications and policies.

     I have yet to see any substantive discussion of the issues
surrounding Open Access for ASIST and its publications.  While the issues
are numerous, let me use this email to focus on two broad ones:

1)  What (if any) content from ASIST publications should be available via
an Open Access model?

     Just in case you are wondering, here is the current status of OA for
ASIST publications:

          JASIST:  tables of content & article abstracts;
          ARIST: tables of content;
          Bulletin: full-text content;
          Monographs & Proceedings: just bibliographic information (not
even tables of content!).

     In the STM field (Science-Technology-Medicine) there is a movement to
make all content OA, either directly upon publication, or after some
predetermined delay (usually six months).  This movement is still small,
though. Its largest success has been in the medical/biological fields.
Revenue models appear to be the largest hurdle (and it is certainly a
large hurdle).

     What if JASIST were Open Access, or ARIST?  Would this matter to
those of you who are authors?  Is there any benefit to having your
intellectual capital available for the whole world to see?  (Assuming the
continuity of rigorous peer-review continues.)  Do you feel satisfied with
the current access others have to your articles?  Would you be willing to
pay "page charges" to have your articles published in an OA JASIST?  (A
model being used by some publishers, like the Public Library of Science.)
Or is the L/IS profession too poor to afford a page-charge model (like
some humanities and social science publishers have already argued, for
other professions)?

2)  Many authors want the ability ("right"/copyright) to post their
articles either on the own, personal web site, or on their institution's
institutional repository.  Currently ASIST copyright policies prohibit
this (for JASIST & ARIST).  Should these policies be changed?  What are
the advantages/disadvantages for the Society?  For those of you who are
authors, would having this "right" be a middle ground between the current,
limited access model and an Open Access model?  For those of you who are
authors in our publications, do you even care what the copyright policies
are?  Do you follow the policies now?  (For instance, I do know of some
JASIST authors who have posted their articles on their own personal web
sites, which is a clear violation of copyright.)

     I am posting this email to both ASIS-L (to distribute to the largest
number of members as possible, knowing full well that a large portion of
our membership does not subscribe to this discussion list), and to
SIGPUB-L, where, I believe, a lot of these issues should be discussed (but
also realistically knowing that few, if any, substantive or informative
discussions take place).  If you wish to email me directly, please do so.
I will summarize for this list if folks are interested.


Michael R. Leach
Harvard University, Kummel Library
and Physics Research Library
24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
617-495-2029; 617-495-4711 (fax)
mrleach at fas.harvard.edu or
leach at eps.harvard.edu

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