Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hybrid policy at Longwoods Press

Greyson, Longwoods Press rolls out Open Access policy, Social Justice Librarian, January 10, 2008.  Excerpt:

Longwoods Press, publisher of Healthcare Quarterly/Longwoods Review , Nursing Leadership (CJNL) , Healthcare Policy / Politiques de Santé , World Health & Population now has an OA publishing option. I guess this is a super-soft launch of the policy, as there’s no note of it on their homepage, and the only people who seem to know about it are the authors who are getting the new License to Publish forms with the pay-for-OA option included.

Here’s the Open Access Policy page so you can see for yourself. Some would argue that this is technically a FREE access policy, not a true OPEN access policy. And they’d be right in that argument. Fee for the authors who chose the “OA” option is currently set at $2500 (USD/CAD your choice) per article.

My quick thoughts

Yay for:

  • Creating a policy! Canadian niche journals are clearly struggling to keep up in the online publishing world, and this is a step that could help keep some of them in business (of course, with the new CIHR policy, and CIHR being a sponsor of Longwoods, I suppose one could argue that they could hardly drag their feet any longer…)
  • Waiving the author charges for authors from a list of developing nations. I don’t know how many articles most of the Longwoods journals get from such countries, but it’s a nice gesture.

A kick in the shins for:

  • Not making an exception to the publishing fees for authors who are unaffiliated or have other ground for appeal. This really sucks, guys, and is dumb since you have major competitors (think Open Medicine) who publish OA without any fees to anyone.
  • Keeping a pretty tight grip on copyright even if the author pays for OA, rather than letting the authors retain most rights or publishing it under s creative commons license.
  • Restricting even “Green” (author’s final copy/Post-print) archiving to a 12-month embargo unless the author pays the $2500 fee. This basically means any authors reporting on CIHR-funded research have to pay the $2500 fee, since they have to make peer-reviewed articles available within 6 months. I would guess that a majority of the authors of many if not all of Longwoods’ journals are CIHR-funded researchers. Do you think this was oversight in the open “choice” policy, or an attempt at income insurance? ...

I am pleased with the press for making a move here, and hope that in a year or so they’ll revise the policy to bring it a bit more into line with OA norms.

Comment.  I'd only add two points.  First, the copyright transfer agreement, even for authors selecting the OA option, gives Longwoods the exclusive right to distribute copies or deposit them in repositories --although the same document later qualifies this by permitting post-print archiving for those who pay the fee.  Second, Longwoods does not promise to reduce subscription prices in proportion to author uptake of the new option.  Hence, it embraces a frank "double charge" business model.