Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, August 13, 2007

Interview with John Willinsky

Dean Giustini, UBC's John Willinsky - Stanford Takes Him (For Now), Open Medicine blog, August 12, 2007.  Excerpt:

UBC's Dr. John Willinsky is no stranger to open access advocates. His book The Access Principle is 'required reading' for all those who believe in the connection between access to information and the economic and social well-being of knowledge-based societies. Recently, John accepted an appointment at Stanford University....

Dean: Open Journal Systems (OJS) has become an enormously popular and easy-to-implement open source publishing platform. Can you provide a little update about how many journals use OJS, and what sorts of developments you are planning for 2007-08?

JOHN:  "The growth of in the use of OJS has provided an exciting opportunity to work with, and assist, new and old journals from around the world. Open Journal Systems is now being used by over 1,000 journals with little over half of the journals coming from developing nations and 35% of them in languages other than English. About half of our users are existing journals that are using OJS to move online, and support their complete publishing process from accepting submissions to publishing issues (including back issues from earlier days). Almost all of the journals are open access, although that includes 40% that offer a form of delayed open access, while still selling subscriptions to their current issues. About half the journals are in the sciences, with a strong contingent of interdisciplinary journals as well.

As for what's next for PKP, we will be releasing the next version of OJS, in a few months time, in association with our parallel release of Lemon8-XML, developed by MJ Suhonos, which will will automate XML conversion from Word and ODT documents. We'll also be including greater support for reference linking, full PayPal support for subscriptions and delayed open access. Then, down the road, we see moving into greatly modularity between Open Journal and Open Conference Systems to give users greater flexibility in the use of these basic scholarly publishing practices." ...

Dean: We've collaborated on Open Medicine, and, as you know, we have a unique funding model to publish it. Put simply, we require volunteer labour (ie. copy-editors especially) and fund-raising to produce the Journal. Do you see any other 'liminal' kinds of funding models among open access journals, where articles are being published but have no business plan?

JOHN:  "I must say that your contribution to Open Medicine has been part of what makes this journal so special. You've proven, among other things, how blog and journal can work hand in hand. As for the economics, I think Open Medicine presents a very interesting open access model of developing and launching the journal, while still seeking out a sustainable economic model that is likely to be made up of a number of parts, including volunteer support, library funding, donors and other agencies. To further this process of testing new models, we are pursuing, with the support of our library partners in PKP, namely Simon Fraser University led by Lynn Copeland, a more active and sustained role for open access journals among the library community. This could well take the form of a cooperative model, in which research libraries participate with journals and scholarly society publishers at a cost somewhat less than current subscription costs for participating journals (given the economies of open source software, library in-kind support, reduced transactional costs, etc.). We don't have any sterling instances of this yet, but given the number of libraries already hosting open access journals (Vanderbilt, Rutgers, UBC, etc.) and the support of SPARC and other agencies, it will not be long, I believe, before we enter the proof of concept stage with this model. What would be great is for a few journals and scholarly societies to come forward (after reading this blog perhaps) and say, yes, we'd like to give this idea a try." ...