Awesome: Entire Editorial Board Of Journal Of Library Administration Resigns In Support Of Open Access

from the take-a-stand dept

With academics increasingly fighting back against ridiculous academic journal publishing rules that lock up information, we’ve often wondered how academics who work for some of those journals feel. In one case, those academics have just made a very loud statement. The editor and entire editorial board for the Journal of Library Administration have all resigned en masse to protest the journal’s closed access provisions, which they claim are “too restrictive and out of step with the expectations of authors.” The editor, Damon Jaggers (also an associate university librarian at Columbia University) only became the editor recently, but noted that many authors he approached pushed back about the licensing terms.

Some found the terms too confusing, Mr. Jaggars said, while others felt they were too restrictive. Many requested, instead, a form of Creative Commons license, arguing that the journal’s agreement left them little ownership of their own work.

What may have pushed the editorial board over the edge, it seems, was the Aaron Swartz story. One of the editorial board members, Chris Bourg, who is an assistant university librarian at Stanford, published a blog post in which she directly cites the Swartz situation as making it clear she needed to resign:

Later, Damon asked me to write an article about our Library Concierge project for JLA, and again I said yes. When Damon contacted me later with an actual deadline for the article, I told him I was having second thoughts. It was just days after Aaron Swartz’ death, and I was having a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access. Damon reminded me (gently) that not only had I agreed to write for JLA, but I was on the Editorial Board, so this could be a problem. More importantly, he assured me that he was working with Taylor & Francis to try to get them to adopt less restrictive agreements that would allow for some form of Creative Commons license. He told me his strategy was to work from within to encourage change among publishers. Once again, Damon’s power of persuasion worked.

So, I worked on the article, and just recently submitted it. In the meantime, Damon continued to try to convince Taylor & Francis (on behalf of the entire Editorial Board, and with our full support), that their licensing terms were too confusing and too restrictive. A big part of the argument is that the Taylor & Francis author agreement is a real turn-off for authors and was handicapping the Editorial Board’s ability to attract quality content to the journal. The best Taylor & Francis could come up with was a less restrictive license that would cost authors nearly $3000 per article. The Board agreed that this alternative was simply not tenable, so we collectively resigned. In a sense, the decision was as much a practical one as a political one. Huge kudos to Damon for his persistence, his leadership, and his measured and ethical stance on this issue.

Everyone resigned on Friday. As of the latest updates, the company that publishes the journal, Taylor & Francis had not responded to anyone about the resignations.

Either way, good for this team for taking a stand against such restrictive practices. Hopefully it helps to wake up other journals and publishers that closing off access is no way to run an academic journal.

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Companies: taylor & francis

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Comments on “Awesome: Entire Editorial Board Of Journal Of Library Administration Resigns In Support Of Open Access”

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Anonymous Coward says:

it should never have come to this but it shows the ridiculous attitude of so many companies that think the only way to run a business is to lock it down and be as restrictive as possible. i sincerely hope all those concerned are able to get gainful employment quickly and that Taylor & Francis quickly have a change of stance. it would be a good thing if more people did what these did, showing that the way companies/industries behave is not right and not good enough

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Kudos to them. I hope they get something lined up for themselves soon, or even decide to start their own open access journal. It takes guts to stand up like that.

My company has been on a huge push for patents recently. I was worried at first, but I also told my boss in no uncertain terms that if he turns this push into a requirement for continued employment then I’ll quit. I’m happy to brainstorm for new ideas, I’m happy to think of new ways to do things or even new things entirely, but I vehemently disagree with patents. It turns out, I think he’s fairly close to feeling the same as me. The difference is, even though he doesn’t like the game, he’s still going to play it.

So kudos to these people. They didn’t like the game, and they’re refusing to play. It’s the only way change is actually made.

out_of_the_blue says:

Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

ER, any “hoo”, Mike actually minimized the dispute — in order to skew it more his way:
“Over the past six weeks, Mr. Jaggars said, he and the editorial board had been in discussions with Taylor & Francis about changing the terms. In the end, the publisher did offer a less-restrictive license, he said, but the new terms would require authors to pay a fee of nearly $3,000 to have an article appear in the journal. ?That really is not an option for librarians and researchers in this field,? Mr. Jaggars said.”

Now, THAT’S a real obstacle, not imagined or theoretical.

Yet it’s no even vaguely similar to “liberating” libraried data that JSTOR wanted to sell. This is authors not wanting to pay for being published. (Why don’t you just tell them how to skip the imprimatur of this Journal, Mike?) Not even apples and oranges, more like moon rocks and petunias. So the “Swartz Effect” doesn’t apply. (Why haven’t you dubbed it that, Mike? Must be past your peak.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

Baby blue, when words are in italics in an article here and the indendation is off-set from the rest of the text that’s a sign that it’s a direct quote. “Mike” didn’t bring up Swartz in this context, one of the editorial board members, Chris Bourg, evoked Swartz in this context.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

@AC: “Baby blue, when words are in italics in an article here and the indendation is off-set from the rest of the text that’s a sign that it’s a direct quote. “Mike” didn’t bring up Swartz in this context, one of the editorial board members, Chris Bourg, evoked Swartz in this context.”

And instead of the wrong way you put it, I wrote “in order to skew it more his way”. — You didn’t even mention that the figger and point is right there in the 2nd block quote: I added some to focus more on the REAL objection. I’m QUITE sure that whether the board believes the “Swartz Effect” was big or not, the AUTHORS object FAR MORE to laying out THREE THOUSAND BUCKS, apparently PER articcle. Now, don’t you agree that they likely do?

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

@ AC: “Dippety doo-dah does not make a dippety-day. I learned that early and it was a hard won lesson.”

I just bet it was, as clearly you can’t keep focus for more than ten seconds.

Now, what part of weighing whether PAYING $3000 outweighs the “Swartz Effect” for AUTHORS do you not get? — All of it, apparently: you chose to skip the question and instead put up some vague cliche.

Think I’m doing being “engaged” on this topic… But keep trying, kids. I know it flatters you to get my attention.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

They objected to the original licensing terms. Taylor & Francis offered a change in those licensing terms. The new terms were still objectionable. The original terms were already objectionable, the new terms didn’t change that. They were already objectionable because of the “Swartz Effect”, the new terms didn’t mitigate the problem. They didn’t “object FAR MORE to laying out THREE THOUSAND BUCKS”, they objected the original licensing terms, and found that Taylor & Francis’ offer to to change those terms was also not tenable.

I’m all for having a debate, but when we can’t get past the basics of what even went on, you bring nothing of value to anyone. Maybe Mike likes you because you bring page views, but then you’d be helping out the ivy-leaguer, and you’re against that, so you say. Thus proving that you are a hypocrite and a liar.

Now blue, please ignore my first paragraph above, and focus on the word “liar”. Not that I need to make this request; you’ll do it anyway.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

@ “weneedhelp” — “Our resident idiot is alive and well.”

I’m glad to hear that you are.

Now, just the last item, thought I’d worked out an agreement with my clone to disparage sheer ad hom such as yours. Where are you NOW, my cloned out_of_the_blue? This is EXACTLY the type of needless, off-topic tripe that you should object to. So unless you comment here to reprimand “weneedhelp”, you’re not keeping your end of the bargain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

“This is authors not wanting to pay for being published”

Do try to understand the issues before making an arse out of yourself.

The situation here is that the publisher is handed articles, already formatted and proof-read and pretty much ready to print (because they’ve already gone through an extensive peer review process), yet, this research work (often state funded) is locked behind VERY expensive access fees by the publisher. Sometimes, the copyright is even handed to the publisher. To add insult to injury, you (the researcher) have to PAY the publisher for a copy of YOUR work.

In short, the researchers get to do all the hard work, while the publisher gouges them with (sometimes) extreme fees. The ones that end up suffering the most are the Universities, which need to pay exorbitant fees to have their libraries stocked with up-to-date scientific articles.

I know how it works. I’ve been there.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Woohoo! Rid of those malcontents!

Dear OOTB,

I wish I could somehow help by waiving a magic wand and transform you to a magical wonderful world where you could enjoy the full blessings of maximum intellectual property protectionism.

We could call it the People’s Democratic Republic of North Kopyrightistan.

Under the dear leader’s benevolence, anyone wishing to advance the current state of art, music, poetry, science or just about anything else, would be required to obtain permission from anyone else who even potentially has any kind of IP claim.

Examples would include, but not be limited to:
1. Trademarks on common everyday words that had been infringing for centuries or millennia prior to the trademark owner securing the rights to those words.
2. Copyrights on all sorts of things, like innovative new ways to build circuits, new industrial processes, ways of conducting business, unspoken thoughts, ideas and other wonderful things.
3. Patents on patent worthy things such as colors and shapes, insulting blog posts that offend you, performances of art and music, recitation of poetry, etc.

Now obviously, there would be some overlap, increasing the pool of rightsholders whose permission must be sought before creativity or innovation may begin.

For example, both Patent and Copyright might cover overlapping areas such as mathematics, or your genes.

Or both Trademark and Copyright might cover the effect of curing a particular disease.

Or Patent and Trademark might both cover a new song, while Copyright protects the mechanical method of reproducing it.

The pace of new creativity and innovation in such a world would be breathtaking. The resulting suffocation from the taking of breath would benefit everyone equally.

To those malcontents outside and looking in at such an IP Utopia, it would be breathtaking as well. But at least you would be rid of those malcontents.

DannyB (profile) says:

Fix it one part at a time instead of all at once

> continued to try to convince Taylor & Francis (on behalf of the entire
> Editorial Board, and with our full support), that their licensing
> terms were too confusing and too restrictive.

There are two problems.
1. too confusing
2. too restrictive

First fix the confusing part.

Once you have paid for a license, you are not allowed any form of access to the licensed materials.

See that? Nice, simple and clear language. That fixes the “too confusing” part. Leave the “too restrictive” part to be fixed another day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Interesting future

With an open system, the status of who has reviewed and commented on a paper, along with who references the paper in other papers would give a better indication of the impact of a paper. If desired, he same editorial boards can review papers and add a stamp of approval to those they consider to be of merit.
Other than the printing and distribution of paper copies, the academic publishers bring little to the table. The prestige of a journal is down to the volunteer academics who are on the editorial board.

DNY (profile) says:

Glad to see someone besides mathematicians doing this

Now they need to follow the lead of the editorial board of Topology that resigned en masse: start a new open-access journal published by a professional society (or better still existing entirely online with all the copyright of all articles retained by the author except for permission to the journal to permanently maintain online and archive copies and to all parties to download and print copies from personal use the way Theory and Applications of Categories does).

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