Recently in Scholarly Communication/Open Access Category

U of CA and the Nature Publishing Group

An article published in the 6/8/10 web edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education details how the University of California system is facing a 400% increase in the costs of its journal subscriptions to titles published by the Nature Publishing Group for 2011.

A letter was sent out to all U of CA faculty detailing the impasse with NPG. In this letter faculty have begun to organize a system-wide boycott of NPG which would include:

  • suspend all subscriptions to NPG titles (67 in all)
  • decline to peer-review manuscripts for NPG titles
  • resign from NPG title editorial and advisory boards
  • cease to submit papers to NPG titles
  • stop advertising to NPG titles
  • inform colleagues of NPG business practices

U of CA has boycotted Nature titles in the past and the U of M libraries has done the same, although on a very-temporary basis. We have not yet received our 2011 price quotes for NPG titles.

What Are Open Access Journals?

Open access (OA) journals usually refers to journals whose publication model does not include charging users for access to the full-text of the articles in that journal. Users of OA journals have the rights to read, download, distribute, copy, and share articles they find in these titles.

Some organizations and governmental agencies have always created "open access" journals. Two examples of this are the the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and Environmental Health Perspectives.

However, the late 1990s and early 2000s saw two things happen which prompted the growth of the OA movement. One is the increased availability of Internet access across the world. The second is the frustration that some members of the academy have felt with the traditional, for-profit publishing model.

More and more open access journals are coming online. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is one way to identify OA journals.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is the annual accounting of journals by impact factors. The most recent version of JCR is 2008, which includes OA titles in the BioMedCentral and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) series of OA journals.

Here are some 2008 JCR rankings of OA titles that may be of interest to public health researchers:

  • BMC Public Health (#46 out of 105 titles in the Pubic Health, Environmental Science and Occupational Health category
  • PLoS Biology (#1 out of 22 titles in the Biology category)

Both BMC and PLoS charge authors for article processing fees. The University of Minnesota is an institutional member of both groups which means that U of M authors get a 15% discount in these fees for BMC and a 10% discount in PLoS.

Our Transforming Scholarly Communication webiste has more information on Open Access, author's rights, copyright and other issues of interest to researchers and authors in academe.

Forum on Scholarly Publishing & Scholarly Values

The University of Minnesota Libraries will be sponsoring a forum on May 12, 2010 from 1:30pm-3:30pm called "Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly Values: Choosing Our Future." Jason Baird Jackson of Indiana University will discuss the reasons why he founded an open-access journal in response to dissatisfaction with publisher policies while serving as editor of Museum Anthropology. A panel discussion and Q&A session will follow Dr. Jackson's presentation. Faculty and graduate students can find more information about the forum and register online at:

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