Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 02, 2007

When funders support journals

Leslie Chan, Frances Groen, and Jean-Claude Guédon, Study of the Feasibility of Open-Access Publishing For Journals Funded by SSHRC’s Aid to Scholarly and Transfer Journals Programme, SSHRC, August 15, 2006 (released online February 1, 2007).  From the summary of recommendations:

7. Regarding journalsSSHRC should mandate that all SSHRC-supported journals be made “green”;

8. Regarding authors:  SSHRC should strongly request all scholars whose research has been funded by SSHRC to self-archive their papers in suitable institutional repositories;

9. Regarding Institutional repositories:  SSHRC should collaborate with CARL (and other suitable associations) to promote the development of IR's, ensure their interoperability, and improve their role to preserve the Canadian scholarly heritage. SSHRC should also consider working with AUCC as well as the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and the Social Sciences to support self-archiving at the institutional level

10. SSHRC should conduct experiments with journal editors willing to explore epublishing and Open Access. In particular, they should permit experiments in risk-free circumstances to explore various business plans that may be better adapted to e-publishing. Experiments with existing OA journals and with transforming existing journals into OA publications should be carefully documented to help other journals move in this direction;

11. SSHRC should begin a pilot programme to help create a few new OA journals, either from scratch or from existing, toll-gated, journals, and to monitor the evolution of such journals for the next three years. In particular, the usage, visibility and citation rate of these journals could be properly tracked from its initial OA offering. Controlled comparison of the return on investment for OA journals and non-OA journals could then be made;

12. SSHRC supported journals should not ask from authors more rights than they need to function properly. In particular, they should not require rights that may interfere with legitimate educational use of articles;

13. SSHRC should educate authors about retaining their rights, in particular by pointing out tools such as the author's addendum promoted by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) or the various licensing options provided by Creative Commons;

14. SSHRC should distance itself from using paying subscribers as a reliable indicator of usage in the electronic world;

15. Peer review remains essential for Open Access journals;

16. Open Access Journals should provide SSHRC with the list of reviewers consulted in the previous year;

17. A broad range of on-line metrics should be applied to evaluate Open Access journals;

18. SSHRC should give priorities to Open Access journals that can demonstrate presence in multiple indexing and abstracting instruments; 19. SSHRC should establish a special funding category to permit the creation of new Open Access journals;

20. SSHRC should provide special funding to assist SSHRC-supported journals that want to convert into Open Access journals.

Comment.  This is new and welcome.  Funders worldwide increasingly recognize that when they support research, they should use their influence to steer the resulting work toward OA.  What's new here is that when funders support journals, they should also use their influence to steer the journals toward OA.