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.