Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 21, 2008

New OA journal of transport and land use

The Journal of Transport and Land Use is a new peer-reviewed, no-fee OA journal from the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.  JTLU publishes under a CC-BY-NC license.  From the editorial by David Levinson and four co-authors in the inaugural issue (Summer 2008):

...JTLU embraces the open-content movement. Most academic publishing, especially in the “traditional model” that comprises most of the journals launched prior to the late 1990s, can be described as a “walled garden.” Inside are the beauties of rich information, but to enter, the costs are steep. Such a model made sense in an age when journals were primarily distributed on paper, and publication costs were high. Today, however, most readers of nominally paper-based journals access the articles online, and the costs such as communications and server space are small enough as to be inconsequential for a single journal.

The main costs —those of writing, reviewing, and editing articles— have historically been gratis (at most, the participants earn social capital which perhaps can later be monetized), while copy-editing and layout do entail real costs and have historically been recovered by charging either readers (through libraries) or authors. But the prices charged by journals publishers to access these journals have increased dramatically, forcing many libraries to cancel subscriptions. In economic terms, these for-profit journals are a privately owned club good, and as the number of club-members decreases, the price per member increases to maintain the facility —a vicious cycle familiar to any analyst of transit ridership.

The model for JTLU differs from that described above in that we see scientific knowledge as a public good best provided without profit by public-minded institutions. The open-content movement is gaining ground throughout scientific literature. In biology, for example, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) has led the way in legitimizing this new model of distribution.

JTLU is open-content, subscription-free, and free to contribute. All of this is enabled by generous financial and administrative support from the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota....