Friday, October 16, 2015

BPN 1715: Linguists start to move towards Open Access

The editorial boards of prominent language journals are  say goodbye to their commercial publishers. With the support of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) they are moving to the Open Access platform to promote the accessibility of their scientific results with less limitations. NWO supports two linguistics publications  to exit, while the editorial boards of another two or three linguistic publications negotiate a departure with their commercial publishers, among which Elsevier. 

Open Access
Open Access has been brewing ever since the introduction of internet. This new way of publication was seen as a replacement for the expensive way of distributing the results of scientific research. In the publishing chain universities were paying three times for their own results: universities pay/paid the salaries of the scientists; the scientists do not get paid for their articles, if accepted; universities pay subscriptions for the journals. Of course the publishers pay desk editors, the peer review as well as the printing and distribution. Yet the expensive subscriptions do not weigh up to the costs made by the universities.

In the Netherlands a turn to another way of academic publishing has been coming since the nineties. Were scientists of optical technologies of the Technical University in Eindhoven already using e-mail and repositories for their publications in a fast changing area of technology in 1998/1999, university boards were not yet interested in addressing  the issue. I In the new century Open Access came on the agenda of university boards and scientific institutes such as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Association of universities in the Netherlands (VNSU) and the Dutch academic network SURF. By 2004 the online database of scientific publications NARCIS was started. Besides academic support, there is now a political drive as State secretary Dekker of the ministry of Education, Culture and Science insists that in five years 60 per cent and in 10 years 100 per cent of the scientific publications will be Open Access. Publications of scientists are financed with public money and need to be accessible without any financial thresholds. 

Project LingOA 
Now a unique initiative, named LingOA, commences. Editorial boards of five journals for linguistic research will say goodbye to their present publishers, among others Elsevier, and start publishing their articles, accessible for society. Two of the editorial boards of LabPhon and  Journal of Portuguese Linguistics have received 20.000 euro to start up their publications. Lingua and Journal of Greek Linguistics as well as a third journal are still negotiating with their publishers, among other about the ownership of the journal’s title.
Articles will be published by the online platform Ubiquity Press from January 2016 onwards. Besides online, LingOA concluded an agreement with the Open Library of the Humanities (OLH), guaranteeing at least a five year existence of the LinOA journals.

One small step 
The step by LingOA to Open Access is important. It can be made as the academic linguistics world is small and close and the subscriptions of the journals are not extreme. But the journals in categories as bio-medical publications the subscription prices are extreme and might still take some time to exit the realm of commercial, academic publishers. LingOA has set one small step, but an important one to change academic publishing.

Update 8 November 2015: 
Just read that the linguistic journal Lingua has left the Elsevier stable. The 5 editors and 31 member editorial board will start a new competing journal Glossa in January with the British publisher Ubiquity Press.

No comments: