Our third event in Open Access Week was a session on Open Access Journals, subtitled challenges and opportunities – I came away with a sharper sense of the challenges than the opportunities. Nevertheless lets start with the opportunities.
All the presenters, Martin Weller, Clem Herman and Francesca Benatti were enthusiastic, wanting to foster research communities in their subject areas and reach an audience beyond a paywall. The editors wanted to innovate, improve discoverability and provide quality to their authors without charging either their authors or readers.
However, they all suffered from one key thing – lack of resource.
Money to underpin the infrastructure and time to curate and promote the journal content. So listening to them was immensely frustrating.
All 3 journals are using different platforms Journal of Interactive Media in Education uses Ubiquity, International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology uses Open Journal Systems and Open Arts Journal uses WordPress – there is no shared platform at the OU.
In the audience were at least 2 groups of people considering starting their own journal – they were looking for advice on infrastructure and advisory support in establishing the journals – there is no community of practice in Open Access at the OU.
Potential authors for the journals were being discouraged from publishing in these journals because these journals didn’t have impact factors or weren’t indexed by particular databases.
Central support in the form of a shared infrastructure (1 FTE developer or monies to pay for an off the shelf external infrastructure) and editorial support (1 FTE) would support the 8-10 (my guess) internally produced Open Access Journals allowing the editors to innovate and grow these journals to be a credible alternative to commercial publishers that routinely take millions of pounds out of higher education in the form of subscriptions for content provided to them for free.