[Sigpub-l] Open Access publishing & ASIST publications: Part II

Michael Leach mrleach at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Apr 27 17:28:03 EDT 2004

Dear Colleagues:

     I wish to provide an update, and some further points of discussion,
to my original posting on "Open Access publishing & ASIST publications."
While replies to ASIS-L and SIGPUB-L have been minimal (as was expected) I
have received about a half dozen personal replies, which are now

     All replies indicated the need to address these issues, even if ASIST
doesn't adopt any OA model.  Naturally, the critical issues hinge on a
viable revenue model for any OA initiative by the Society.  It was brought
to my attention that some potential authors are steering clear of one of
our publications because it is not available (full-text) online.  As
another reply noted, awareness by faculty of the OA movement is growing,
and some faculty/authors are adopting this publishing model personally.

     Now, for a few more points of discussion:

1. The lack of a large, vivid response to my initial posting can be taken
as a) apathy, b) contentment with the status quo, c) lack of knowledge of
the issues, d) some combination of the above, or e) some variable I
haven't accounted for.  Should there be little response to this posting, I
will consider the issues "dead" and refrain from further

2.  Should we (ASIST--its members) be experimenting with new models of
publishing and scholarly communications, or should we leave it up to some
other group(s) (like the biomed sciences)?  The Directory of Open Access
Journals lists 27 LIS journals worldwide.  There are 216 titles under
"medicine" in this directory.  Granted, there are far, far fewer L/IS
researchers than medical researchers, but information--its creation,
storage, organization & retrieval--is our principle bailiwick.
     We do have an OA publication--the Bulletin--but its OA status is more
a secondary consideration to the print publication.  Should we be using
this publication to test electronic publication models?  Where is the
metadata attached to each article?  What about controlled indexing and
search interfaces?  What about layout of online content, alternative
formats (e.g. pdf instead of just the html)?  What are the costs for
publishing each article online?  What will it take to truly archive this
publication?  How does the print counterpart support or detract from the
OA version?  Should we add a peer-reviewed section (perhaps just online)
to assess the costs associated with OA publishing?  Why haven't we lined
up researchers in our L/IS schools to examine these issues over the short
and long term, working in conjunction with the editors, editorial boards,
and the Society?

     I acknowledge that the above is spirited and even confrontational,
but I believe we have the strengths within this Society to tackle these
issues while the OA movement is young--and to have an impact in its (OA)
direction and formation.  Personally, I have my doubts about the viability
of the OA publishing model, but without some experimentation, without some
effort at researching the issues, all we have is conjecture.


Michael R. Leach
Kummel Library of Geological Sciences and Physics Research Library
Harvard University
24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Kummel: 617-495-2029 (voice); 617-495-4711 (fax)
Physics: 617-495-2878 (voice); 617-495-0416 (fax)
mrleach at fas.harvard.edu or
leach at eps.harvard.edu or
leach at physics.harvard.edu

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