Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

September SOAN

I just mailed the September issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at the ways in which journal quality and journal prestige overlap, the ways in which they diverge, and how their complex relationship affects the prospects for OA.

The round-up section briefly notes 96 OA developments from August.

Update.  Here's a story without a strong enough OA connection to blog on its own.  But because it connects well with my article in the September SOAN, I'll note it here.  The British Academy is criticizing the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) for its attempt to rate journals by their prestige.  That's right:  prestige, not quality or impact.  Journal editors in the history of science, technology, and medicine (HSTM) are circulating an editorial against the practice and asking ERIH to remove them from the index.  The copy of the editorial I received by email, forwarded from the EJournals mailing list, was signed by the editors of 45 journals.  (I can't link to it because the online version is in a closed archive.)  I've seen several OA copies of the editorial, but none has all 45 signatures, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4.  I support the journals' criticism of ERIH.  The prestige rankings will have the effect of cementing a journal's current level of prestige, nourishing the benign circle for high-prestige journals and the vicious circle for low-prestige journals.

Update. For ERIH's response to the criticism, see Michael Whorton's letter to the editor in the Times Higher Education Supplement for November 27, 2008. Whorton is a member of the ERIH steering committee.

Update (2/14/09). For a TA version of an editorial against ERIH signed by 57 journals, see T.H. Levere, Journals under threat: A joint response from history of science, technology and medicine editors, Annals of Science, 66 (2009) pp. 1 3. (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.)