Before I launch into the meat of this post, I would like to confirm a few things.
Yes, I am currently the co-editor-in-chief of the journal The Serials Librarian.
Yes, this journal is published by Taylor and Francis and is part of the same group of journals in Library & Information Science as the title Journal of Library Administration which has been mentioned in the blogosphere lately.
Yes, Taylor and Francis are a Green OA publisher and their LIS titles have benefitted since 1 November 2011 from a clause allowing the author to make either their original manuscript or the accepted version of their manuscript available in institutional repositories and similar services.
The relevant bit from the Taylor & Francis Author Services LIS Rights:
“Copyright is retained by the author, who grants a license to Taylor & Francis to publish the version of Scholarly Record, but who remains copyright holder and is free to post versions of the Article – Author’s Original Manuscript (preprint) and Author’s Accepted Manuscript (postprint) – at any time, without embargo, with a link to the Version of Scholarly Record.”
Please note that the wording states ‘at any time’. Authors do not have to wait for the Version of Scholarly Record (i.e. the final typeset page with all the links and what we used to call ‘bells and whistles’) to appear – simply to add a link to it when it does appear.
Taylor and Francis have since launched an optional Gold OA model which seems to have caused all the fuss, assuming that the Green route pilot has been dropped in favour of only allowing authors permission to share their articles if they pay the publisher for the privilege. In fact the Gold OA option, clocking in at around $3,000 per article, is set up to allow the Version of Scholarly Record to be made available on the informa website for free.
The mass resignation of the editor-in-chief and the editorial board of Journal of Library Administration so early in its tenure is a matter for great regret, I feel, but the blog and listserv posts on the topic which do not present the whole picture, are potentially more damaging. We have had curt emails from prospective authors who ‘do not wish to post in a closed access journal’ without enquiring further.
I fully support Open Access initatives of whatever form, Green, Gold, or Hybrid. OA is still a relatively new way of publishing and the recent threatened lawsuits regarding possible ‘predatory’ publishers, ie. those which simply exist to make money and produce any content offered, means the area remains an emotive subject for some.
However, attacking commercial publishers who need to make their money somewhere, and which do provide quality content which has been assessed, peer reviewed, and copy edited, purely because their content is not ‘free’ seems counter-productive. I do understand all the arguments around the area of scholarly communication and have previously commented on the RCUK issues around OA and Open Access and the Big Deals.
Obviously, as an editor on a journal in the LIS programme I am concerned that misinformation and the actions of the editor and board of JLA might cause us some damage – I hope that this blog post has done something to redress the balance.
I stress that this post is my personal view, and does not necessarily represent that of my co-editor, or of NASIG, who are associated with The Serials Librarian. Nor has this post been vetted by my colleagues at Taylor & Francis, with this being my personal blog.