Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Marquette will launch 8 OA journals in 2008

Marquette Books will launch eight peer-reviewed OA journals in January 2008.  (Thanks to Kay Vyhnanek.)  From yesterday’s announcement:

Eight new scientific journals that focus on communication processes and effects will be available free of charge to scholars and the public in 2008, Marquette Books LLC of Spokane, Washington, announced today.

MB Publisher David Demers said he believes this is the first time a privately owned publishing house has made all of its journals open access.  According to the Directory of Open Access Journals, almost all open access journals are published by universities or nonprofit organizations, which in turn receive financial support from tax revenues or private donations.
"At a time when most for-profit publishers are increasing the costs of their journals," said Demers, "we decided to go the opposite route and offer all of our journals free of charge. We want the scholarship in our journals to be read by as many people as possible." ...
To compensate for some of the loss of subscription revenue, Demers said the online portal through which scholars and the public will access the PDF content of MB journals will contain some advertising for MB's scholarly and trade books. But he doesn't expect sales of those books or institutional subscriptions to the hard copy versions of MB journals (priced at $85 for one journal and $35 for each additional journal) to cover the costs of making the journals open access.
"This is a long-term strategy," he said. "We believe open-access along with our policy of allowing scholars to keep the copyright to their submissions will enhance the quality of our journals as well as our brand name."
Quoting book industry expert John B. Thompson, Demers said private publishing houses have increased the subscription rates of academic journals by an average of 226% from 1986 to 2000.  During the same time period, the consumer price index increased only 57%.
"Many of the for-profit publishers, and some academic publishing houses that publish journals, are holding librarians hostage," Demers said. "They know that librarians are reluctant to end subscriptions of top journals."  In fact, libraries spent 192% more on academic journals from 1986 to 2000. To compensate for the increased costs, most libraries cut purchases of scientific books. Sales of book monographs declined 17% over the same period.
Demers said many higher education librarians are upset with publishers who charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for journal subscriptions. "The best kept secret in book publishing is that journal publishing is the most profitable arm of the industry," Demers said. "There clearly isn't enough competition in this market."

Demers said he supports the American Library Association's efforts to require scholars who receive federal funding for their research to publish their papers in open access journals. "It's wrong for the public to fund research that eventually ends up in scientific journals that are difficult or impossible to access in many areas of the country," he said. "That knowledge should be widely available, because the public is paying for it." ...

The eight journals scheduled for publication in Winter 2008 are Journal of Media Sociology, Journal of Global Mass Communication, Russian Journal of Communication, Journal of Health & Mass Communication, Journal of Media Law & Ethics, American Journal of Media Psychology, Journal of Communication Studies and International Journal of Media and Foreign Affairs.  More information about the journals can be found [here]. 

Comment.  Kudos to Marquette, a publisher who understands the access problem faced by libraries and scholars.  Just one correction:  The ALA supports policies that would mandate OA for publicly-funded research, but these policies would require deposit in OA archives, not publication in OA journals.