Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Canadian funder discriminates against OA journals

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by Athabasca University in Canada. It recently applied for funds from the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), but was turned down on the ground that it does not have at least 200 paying subscribers. IRRODL explained that it was an open-access journal, that it was peer-reviewed, that it had at least 6,800 regular readers, and that it was indexed in the DOAJ, but SSHRC was unmoved. IRRODL has been forced to launch an emergency appeal for 200 supporters to pay a token subscription fee of $10/year. "In the spirit of an Open Access journal your subscription will NOT provide any additional services to those available to unpaid subscribers. However, you will be demonstrating to SSRCH and other potential funders that you value IRRODL and support its decision to continue to provide free access to the journal...." (Thanks to James Farmer.) (PS: In the age of open access, it is inaccurate and harmful to use subscriber tallies as a measure of excellence or fund-worthiness. I invite SSHRC to change its policy or explain it.)