Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Richard Poynder interviews Tom Hill of Libertas Academica

Richard Poynder, The Open Access Interviews: Libertas Academica, Open and Shut? January 28, 2009.  Excerpt:

About a year ago people began to contact me to complain about the activities of a number of start-up Open Access (OA) publishers....

[One] concern was that the quality of the peer review process provided by some of these new publishers appeared as though it might not be adequate....

So I began to contact these new companies in order to ask them about their activities. To my surprise, some of those I contacted greeted my enquiry with a variable mixture of silence, stonewalling, criticism, and even threats of legal action....

I should stress that the more established OA publishers e.g. Public Library of Science (PLoS), BioMed Central (BMC), Hindawietc. have always responded readily to questions about their business practices, and with a good deal of openness.

Similarly, amongst the new crop of OA publishers both Dove Medical Press and Libertas Academica replied willingly to my questions when I contacted them. My interview with Tim Hill was published last November, and below I attach an email interview I undertook recently with the managing director of Libertas Academica, Tom Hill (Tim Hill's son)....

It seems likely...that sooner or later OA publishers are going to have to become much more transparent than traditional subscription publishers ever had to be, both with regard to the process that papers undergo before they are published, and in explaining what the research community is getting for its money.

This transparency will be all the more important given the high degree of automation that OA publishers utilise. A recent incident in which Libertas Academica mistakenly published a paper that had been rejected by the referees (a consequence says Tom Hill of a database error) highlights the potential dangers of automation, and the bad press that can circulate in the blogosphere when such an error occurs....

I discuss these and other issues below with Libertas Academica's managing director Tom Hill.