Thursday, March 13, 2008

Taking the plunge: from print to online open access

This article by Kevin D. Haggerty of the open access Canadian Journal of Sociology will answer questions that many publishers are asking; questions like how to go about moving from print to online, and whether or how to move to open access.

There were several reasons for considering a move to open access, but the most convincing one was access. In Haggerty's words, the knock-down appeal of this change [to open access] has always been that it would give works published in the journal a wider global audience and greater impact.

How has the switch to open access gone so far?

The profile of the move was further enhanced when the Canadian academic magazine University Affairs ran a prominent article on the changes to the journal.

Having taken the plunge I waited to see how my colleagues would react. Thankfully (and somewhat surprisingly) I have yet to receive a single missive from anyone who objected but have had a host of messages supporting the change

[on continuing support from aggregators]
they seem interested in keeping the reconfigured journal in their stable of journals and might be willing to compensate us (a bit) to do so
[comment: there are potentially important roles for aggregators in the transition to open access, a subject for a future post]

[on one of the key secrets of the success of the Canadian Journal of Sociology]
I have not been so much a beneficiary of good luck, but have capitalized on the type of infrastructure, priorities and culture that should characterize a prominent research university - at the University of Alberta. Everyone I have encountered recognizes the contribution made by quality journals, and the centrality of editors in ensuring their success. Moreover, they are attuned to the prestige value that can come from having such journals housed at your institution. Wherever reasonably possible, my university has provided the types of support (financial, institutional, moral) required to run a journal.

This support from the University of Alberta includes considerable support from the University Library, and from librarians Pam Ryan and Denise Koufogiannakis, my friends and former classmates.

Haggerty, K.D. (2008). "Taking the plunge: open access at the Canadian Journal of Sociology" Information Research, 13(1) paper 338. [Available at]

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access series and the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.