Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Editorial in a new OA journal

David Beaver and Kai von Fintel, Semantics and Pragmatics - A New Journal, Semantics and Pragmatics, vol. 0 (2007).  Editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal.  Excerpt:

...Our field, like most of academia, has a long history of interdependence with big commercial publishers. The need to make a profit forces these publishers to limit circulation to those who can pay a hefty subscription, mostly libraries in large academic institutions in first world nations. But, the world has changed rather dramatically....

[I]n the internet age, most of the distribution infrastructure we need has been paid for by others. At a low cost (which we can bear without charging readers) we can make everything we publish in our journal permanently accessible within minutes at any hour of any day to a billion or more people....

Thus it seems to us that a move to open access, electronically distributed noncommercial journals is inevitable. Overdue, even....

We should note that open access journals such as S&P are the second step in a hoped for open access revolution. The first step, which we urge all authors that publish their work in non-open-access journals to take, is to deposit “postprints” (the final manuscript version of an article after peer review and revisions) in open access archives and/or on the author’s or their institution’s website. This is commonly called “Green Open Access” and is within reach for virtually all of the output of our field, since even commercial publishers will grant authors the right to deposit the postprint on the web (some even do this routinely in their standard authors’ agreement now, and some even allow the author to put the journal’s final pdf version of the article on the web). If the standard author agreement does not include this right, we encourage authors to see whether they can amend the agreement to include that right; standard tools for adding such amendments are easily available on the web.

With journals like S&P, this process of freely distributing the results of scientific research is made even smoother. Open access is a central part of the journal’s mission. Advocates of open access call this “Gold Open Access”. In fact,...S&P is a “platinum open access” journal, which does not levy any kind of author charge. It is entirely free for authors and for readers. This is made possible by a support structure consisting of multiple institutions:

  • Infrastructure and technical support provided by the Linguistic Society of America under its eLanguage initiative.
  • Free and open source software available without cost, especially the OJS journal management software and the LATEX typesetting system.
  • Start-up funding (and a small amount of continuing funds) provided by the MIT Library, the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the University of Texas at Austin.
  • The usual pro bono work of academics in writing, reviewing, and editing research articles....