Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Proposing an OA journal for natural language processing

Hal Daume III, Whence JCLR?, Natural Language Processing Blog, May 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

Journal publication is not too popular for NLPers -- we tend to be a conference driven bunch. While I could care less about some arguments for journals....I do feel that they serve a purpose beyond simply acting as an archive....In particular, a journal paper is often a place where you get to really set the stage for your problem, describe your algorithms so that they're actually reimplementable, and go in to serious error analysis....

One significant problem is that we're currently really limited in our choice of publication venues....[There are few journals in the field, they don't come out often enough, they have slow turn-around, and they're not OA.]...I hate pay-for-access journals almost as much as I had pay-for-access conference proceedings....

Things were similar in machine learning land about six years ago (though in fact I think they were worse). The big journal there was Machine Learning (published by Springer). They had roughly the same problems, to the extent that a large fraction of the editorial board resigned to found the Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR). JMLR has since become very successful, publishes dozens of papers per year, and has incredibly quick turnaround (I have seen a journal version of a NIPS paper appear in JMLR before NIPS even happens). The creation of JMLR was greatly assisted by the SPARC group, which helps fledgling journal get off the ground.

I would love to see a similar thing happen in the NLP community....

In particular, aside from fast turnaround and online pubs, some things that I would love to see happen with such a journal are: Strongly encouraged sharing of code/data (if one could build in some sort of copyright protection for private data, this would be even better since it would let more people share); and a built-in board for paper discussion (probably with membership); ability for authors to easily submit addenda.

A while back I went through the SPARC suggestions of how to begin such a thing and it's very non-trivial. But it's doable. And I'd be willing to help. The biggest thing that would be required would be a bunch of people with white hair who are willing to commit body-and-soul to such a move.

Also see this response from Fernando Pereira:

Hal advocates an open-access "Journal of Computational Linguistics Research" (JCLR) on the model of JMLR. I'm with him all the way, until his final sentence....

Many of those of us with white (or missing) hair are already up to our necks (or worse) in administration....But the current ACL leadership is already spending a lot of time managing publication in conferences and one journal. Except that this effort is mostly wasted in obsolete publication methods instead of leading the move to open access and fast turn-around, quality reviewing. When I had some executive power at ACL, many years ago, before there was a web, I was one of the movers with Stuart Shieber in getting rid a the restrictive copyright assignment for conference and journal publications. What is are current ACL executives doing?

Update. I won't be able to post on each follow-up, but here's one more from Fernando Pereira.