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News from the open access movement

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More on the conversion of GIGA's journals to OA

The German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) is converting six of its journals to OA, thanks to funding from Germany’s DFG.  The bilingual announcement I’m excerpting below is undated, but the DFG grant was awarded on May 21 and a related German-only press release is dated July 9.  Excerpt:

The GIGA Journal Family [of six journals] is a pioneer project for the conversion of established journals in the field of social science into Open Access journals with worldwide coverage. On the 21st of May 2007 the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved  GIGA’s application for financial support. The project, which is a cooperation between GIGA and the Hamburg University Press, the online publisher of the Hamburg State and University Library (SUB), will be supported for two years.

All GIGA journals will still be available in the usual printed form. Mechanisms to ensure the quality of the journals’ content by the editors, through peer-review and academic advisory boards will be continually advanced. The journals’ content is estimated to go online in the second year via a staged process. The journals will become part of the GIGA Journal Family-Portal and will be accessible worldwide without any delay. The cooperation with the Hamburg State and University Library guarantees an  integration of the GIGA journals into all major international search engines and library services. The use of  "OpenURL-Standards" by professional data bases and library catalogues facilitates a direct access to the complete version of the requested texts. All this will help increase the GIGA journals’ international coverage, thereby enabling a closer interaction and dialogue with academic communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East….

As a signatory of the so-called "Berlin Declaration", the Leibniz Association, of which GIGA is a member institution, supports Open Access as the prime form of publishing of non-commercially driven academic research. With this project, GIGA will be at the cutting-edge of spreading Open Access publishing in the field of social science. The model of step-by-step migration of the established GIGA journals to combine traditional print with online open access formats aims at motivating more academic institutions to move into Open Access publishing.

Comment.  Kudos to GIGA and DFG.  This is notable for several reasons.  First, it’s one of the first strong steps toward OA by the influential Leibniz Gemeinschaft.  Here’s hoping there’s more to come.  Second, it’s six journals at once.  The pace of TA-OA journal conversions has definitely picked up over the past year, but seeing six move at once is still unusual.  Third, it’s publicly-funded.  If it’s not the first journal conversion program in this category, it’s one of the first.