Three-D Issue 19: Publishing crossroads

Einar Thorsen
Bournemouth University

In this issue of Three-D we are taking an in-depth look at the changing nature of academic publishing and what it means for our subject area. There is an increasing shift towards “open” publishing – not least in light of the Finch Report’s recommendations on open access publishing and the Government’s stated support of this. What this means in reality is less clear though, with different interpretations, approaches and standards emerging. Gold or Green anyone? And what is the significance of CC BY-NC-SA?!

Recently I turned down serving on the editorial board of a journal that proclaimed to embrace open publishing. It even published content for free under a Creative Commons Attribution License! Yet, all was not what it seemed. I just could not support a venture with vulturous Author Processing Charges (APC) of $300-1,800 per article! Frankly I am surprised that several senior academics have in fact accepted the invitation and joined the board, in turn lending crediblity by their association to this publication.

This is, to my mind, not in the spirit of the type of openness and free information access that we as scholars should be advocating.

I do of course appreciate the publisher has some overhead costs involved with managing the journal process (including editorial, peer-review, layout, hosting etc), but the charge levied against authors in this instance seems exorbitant – not a “a fair handling fee for processing their articles” as its terms suggest.

If you want to see what open access really could be like, look no further than the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network’s journal, Networking Knowledge. It was set up and continues to run with an annual cost of less than what this journal proposed to charge per article. At least in this way the principle of “open access” is preserved for all participants in the process, and not just the readers.

In this issue we have invited scholars, editors and publishers to share their views about the challenges and opportunities for academic publishing. We hope you enjoy it!

If you would like to write for or advertise in the next edition of Three-D, please get in touch with me on ethorsen@bmth.ac.uk by February 2013. Suggestions for our website are also welcome.

Posted by Einar Thorsen