Category Archives: Open access publishing

List of OA journals in geography, political ecology, and various social sciences

last update: 27/2/2017

“…….So things might have happily continued, had not the corporate interests within this limited, subsidised economy pushed journal subscription prices to the point where access to the knowledge went into a state of decline, at a time when new publishing technologies enabled researchers to take publishing back into their own hands. These new technologies have been used to demonstrate how access can be greatly increased, improving the circulation of knowledge, restoring the researcher’s control of knowledge, and extending its value as a public good by making it far more widely available.” Willinsky J. 2003. The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing . J Postgrad Med  49:263-7.

Academics write most of their work in journals. Journals should publish and curate good quality work, but unfortunately the majority are also used to make money for commercial publishers. This is not a win-win situation. Corporate profits are frequently high because companies retain author copyrights, and sell the material to (mainly) scholarly and university libraries, that frequently struggle to stock key journals because of the cost.  Five companies are now dominating the field, and buying out smaller ones. Financing of this form of scholarly publishing is opaque. Academics do not rock the boat on this very often, because their  prestige and careers are linked too much to the journals they publish in, and most of the prestigious ones are commercial and expensive. Our systems of merit and performance measures are not yet geared to rewarding publishing that is ethical, or based on social justice criteria  (Cahill and Irving 2015). This is especially bad at research universities. (good ref. here, a a depressing study here that shows social scientists in particular don’t care as much about OA as they about the rank of outlets).

To make some contribution to the debate about whether social scientists can avoid the big commercial, firewalled journals, I list below decent academic journals that are free or cheap to publish in, have proper refereeing, and are Open Access – free for readers. Copyright is retained by the author in most but not quite all of them. Open access journals can impose fees on authors instead of readers. Those  with high fees above cUS$500 for authors are excluded- like most social scientists I don’t have more than this to contribute to a publication and I don’t think more is justified. There is a long debate about whether in our internet world, we should be paying at all, which I won’t get into here.

The list began with fields my students and I publish in, hence the small number of themes [environment & development, human geography, anthropology, urban studies and planning, area studies, general social science, and the research/publication process], but it should be useful as a starting point. Further discussion on journals and open access here and from the guru, Peter Suber, here.  Journals are the main systems of constant ranking and hierarchy that we have, much as it would be fairer to ignore them and just publish in the most appropriate venue for the readership. I have included Scopus and its useful impact factor derivative Citescore (released Dec 2016), Web of Science (formerly ISI) and the new Emerging Sources Citation Index listings *

For the majority of my colleagues reading this who have not thought much about OA and publishing ethics (and are manically trying to publish in the best places), I hope you find something you can contribute to. In brief, open access is the best way to publish scholarly material – more readers, and articles under authors’ control. It is a logical outcome of the invention of the web, and the Academic Spring protests of 2012 (analysis, reasons), which have had echoes – eg the recent Lingua  debacle over the resignation of an editorial board that was dissatisfied with Elsevier’s control of copyright and high OA charges, and all the Netherlands universities fight with the same company in 2015 about high charges.  Scott Aaronson says 

“…much of the serious content on the Internet remains sequestered behind pointless, artificial walls—walls that serve the interests of neither the readers nor the authors, but only of the wall-builders themselves. If I have a medical problem, why can’t I download the full text of clinical studies dealing with that problem? Why do so many researchers still not post their papers on their web pages—or if they do, then omit their early papers? When will we in academia get our act together enough to make the world’s scholarly output readable, for free, by anyone with a web browser? “

Most of the journals on the list are run by the “community economies” of unpaid academics, university libraries or departments, or scholarly societies, and a few are commercial but still have acceptable author fees that mere mortals could afford (APCs) **. Only if the big publishers are able to offer OA at reasonable fees, is it worth considering publishing an OA article with them. That said, as Sir/Prof. Tim Gowers argues, journals these days exist only to accommodate author prestige – you can publish anything online, or easily just email the author for a copy of an article (or use Researchgate and Academia). So OA journals need to be as good in quality and meticulous as those conventional ones that are costing our libraries a fortune. I hope I only list good ones here.

The invention of the web and its rollout in the early 1990s spelled the end of the need for conventional firewalled journals. Printed copies are no longer required (although they may be desired by a few)  and the culture among scholars has changed to storing individual article PDFs and only printing them if needed. There are few costs for hosting a journal online – storing its files is easy. Costs, or value, are all in the labour.  To suggest there are major cost implications of OA is not true, unless professional editors or translators are used. If publishing is done largely by academics and their institutions, which is my hope, the cost of running journals is absorbed into regular workloads or taken up by grants, and we have a true change in publishing underway. “The commitment of scholars everywhere to finding new ways of improving access to knowledge”(Willinsky 2003) need not be commercialised or costly. The ‘big five’ publishers (who now  control 66% of papers in social sciences in the WoS, and rising…) and some of the smaller ones will have to adapt or perish (but they do produce indexing, which is useful for now). We will have our copyrights and a larger potential readership, and university libraries will have more money to spend. We will also be able to support smaller and multilingual world periphery journals.

Useful sites

Journals in political ecology, environment, development and associated areas (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

  • Acta Regionalia et Environmentalica. Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra. Not indexed. Free. Regretfully, 6 pages A4 max, nto long enough for most social sciences. Currently mostly regional articles. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/aree
  • AgBioForum: the journal of agrobiotechnology management and economics  Univ of Missouri-Columbia with a federal grant. Critical articles on GM tech etc. allowed. Free. Straightforward website. Copyright – read the details, used to be CC-BY. Scopus Y http://www.agbioforum.org 
  • Ambiente e Sociedade. National Association of Graduate Courses and Research in Environment and Society, Brazil – ANPPAS. Mandatory publishing in English since 2013 (original language can also be included). Some big authors have published here – . Scopus Y – citescore 0.24 2016. Cost – $65 whether you are published or not (Brazilian state cutbacks are responsible).
  • The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. Student run, no indexing. http://www.ajelp.com/ (law schools are often quite wealthy and they like to have their own online journal. Nothing wrong with that but only a few are listed on this site)
  • Bandung: Journal of the Global South. A Open Access Springer journal. I add it here because it is free to authors from developing countries (but $980 for western authors) . Too new to be indexed, but it will be.  https://bandungjournal.springeropen.com/
  • Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems (CASES) European Land use Institute. Free (for now). Unindexed. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/cass
  • Conservation and Society Indian publisher, international editors, one is in my School.  http://www.conservationandsociety.org/ Scopus Yes, Web of Science yes (2015: 1) , Free.  Rejected me twice!
  • Culture, Climate and Change: Biocultural Systems and Livelihoods
     Did not proceed in 2011 but being revitalized from Peru in 2016 – watch their site.  http://journals.sfu.ca/ccc/index.php/ccc/index
  • Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum. Run by Duke law students. Good site. Since 1991. Scopus Y.  http://delpf.law.duke.edu/
  • Electronic Green Journal general environmental, UCLA library.  http://escholarship.org/uc/uclalib_egj   Scopus Yes, Web of Science No. Free.
  • Environmental Humanities. Newish offshoot from the AustHumRev below. University sponsored mainly from UNSW Sydney.  htttp://environmentalhumanities.org/  Web of Sci no, Emerging Sources Citation Index yes, Scopus no (too new), Free.
  • Espace populations sociétés  French and English. Published by University of Lille 1 http://eps.revues.org/  Web of Sci no, Scopus yes, Free
  • Ethnobiology Letters  International board. Also does mini-review papers.  http://ojs.ethnobiology.org/index.php/ebl/index  Scopus Y
  • Environnement Urbain/ Urban Environment. founded 2007, bilingual, Canadian, free I think.   https://eue.erudit.org/?lang=en or http://www.vrm.ca/contenu-vrm/revue-eue/  Scopus and WoS, no. Takes long papers up to 10,000 words, hurrah!
  • Empowering Sustainability International Journal. University of California, Irvine. New, not many papers yet. http://escholarship.org/uc/esij
  • Environmental Health Perspectives http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/  Web of Sci. yes with index of over 8, Scopus yes, free to publish and read. One of the top public health journals in the world. Publishes only 15% of submissions.
  • Environmental & Socio-economic Studies Univ. of Silesia, Poland. Urban and industrial focus. Free, but copyright transfer to the university. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/environ
  • Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. Publisher is Inter-Research in Germany, funded by the late Otto Klinne (it also has a foundation). Some of their journals are author-pays, but this one is still free for the moment (2016). Scopus yes, Web of Science no. http://www.int-res.com/journals/esep/esep-home
  • HARVARD ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW  WoS yes. Scopus Yes. http://harvardelr.com/ Free, as with many US law school journals. See also the Environmental Law Review Syndicate harvardelr.com/elrs/
  • Human Ecology Review  This US journal was always available online and free at a website, but is now published by ANU ePress in Australia. ANU are not doing themselves any favours – the current website is incomplete (a journal needs a dedicated page with submission instructions). It is still listed in WoS masterlist but as a US publication. Scopus Y.
  • International Journal of the Commons. Supported by IASC and in honour of Nobel winner Elinor Orstom who was involved before her death.   http://www.thecommonsjournal.org/  Scopus yes, Web of Sci yes (2015:1.8).  Author charges can approach $500 for an article.
  • Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society.
    http://futureoffoodjournal.org/index.php/journal Univ.Kassel and Union of German Scientists. Free, young scholar focus, not indexed. Confusing dual website.
  • International Journal of Environment Nepalese, not indexed. Free. http://nepjol.info/index.php/IJE/index
  • Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development. Published in Italy since 1907, but made online and free only a few years ago. Social science papers rare but possible. Scopus Y, Emerging Sources Citation Index Y.  http://www.iao.florence.it/ojs/index.php/JAEID/index
  • Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics University of Kassel, Germany . includes articles on ‘ rural economy and farm management, forestry and forest economy,’ 8000 words max. Free. Scopus Y (citescore 2015, 0.59). http://www.jarts.info/index.php/jarts/index
  • Journal of Ecological Anthropology.  University of South Florida. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/ Free, unindexed but some good papers.
  • [Journal of Ecological and Environmental Anthropology University of Georgia, seems to have disappeared. Used to enjoy that one.] 
  • Journal of Economic Development, Environment and People. Hosted in Romania by the ACEU (Alliance of Central and Eastern Universities). E100 APC fee unless an ACEU member. Unindexed. The site and the grammar could use improvement. Papers “up to 20 pages”. http://ojs.spiruharet.ro/index.php/jedep/index
  • Journal of Economic and Environmental History Association of Croatian economic and environmental history (Zagreb). Unindexed. Takes moderately lengthy papers.  http://hrcak.srce.hr/ekonomska-i-ekohistorija
  • Journal of Natural Resources and Development.  http://jnrd.info/  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile with German support, nice layout but should be CCBY copyright.  Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free.
  • Journal of Political Ecology   Scopus yes (Citescore 2016: 1.65), Emerging Sources Citation Index Y, Free. Everything is done by academics, and published throughat U. of Arizona library.  I edit this one and it is a labour of love and hours. http://jpe.library.arizona.edu
  • Journal of Water and Land Development  Polish Academy of Sciences and Institute of Technology and Life Sciences, Falenty. Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016: 0.3). Rivers/water agriculture etc. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jwld
  • Madagascar Conservation and Development Free. http://journalmcd.com/index.php/mcd/index
  • Mountain Research and Development. Scopus and WoS y.   Base charge of US$ 500 for the first 25,000 characters, which is nothing, about 4000 words, so really it is too expensive to be here anymore. http://www.mrd-journal.org/
  • Natural Resources Journal. University of New Mexico. “The NRJ welcomes articles on natural and environmental resources and the law, especially as it relates to policy and interdisciplinary efforts.” Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016: 0.28) Web of Science Yes (2015: 0.2)  http://lawschool.unm.edu/NRJ
  • Nature Conservation. Publishes social and natural science articles. Price of publication was €200 but just went up to €550 in July 2016. However various discounts take it down 10%, esp. for PhD students and waivers for retired and lower/middle income country residents. Scopus (Citescore 2016: 2.37) and Web of Science, yes.  Pensoft, a Bulgarian company. http://natureconservation.pensoft.net/
  • Pacific Geographies   Small German online journal. WoS N, Scopus N. Free, and generally does themed issues on Pacific topics. http://www.pacific-geographies.org/
  • Papers on Global Change IGBP. Scopus Y.  Polish Academy of Sciences, but published by De Gruyter. Seems to be free. Could evolve, but very few citations (Citescore 2016:0).  https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/igbp
  • Places Journal. Architecture and landscape architecture/planning  focus. Peer refereeing option.  https://placesjournal.orgWeb of Sci applied for, Scopus Yes, Free
  • Polish Journal of Environmental Studies. Really a journal about ‘problems of environmental protection’ rather than other aspects of environmental studies. Page charges €30  per page. Scopus (Citescore 2016: 0.92) and Web of Science, yes.  http://www.pjoes.com/index.html
  • Present Environment and Sustainable Development Romanian jounral published by deGruyter open. Free and unindexed. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/pesd
  • Primate Conservation published by Conservation International and IUCN. Scopus Yes, WoS Yes.  http://www.primate-sg.org/primate_conservation/
  • Problemy Ekorozwoju/Problems of Sustainable Development. European Academy of Science and Arts (Salzburg, Austria). Scopus yes (Citescore 2016: 0.62), Web of Science yes. (2015:0.7). Polish/English and free. http://ekorozwoj.pol.lublin.pl/
  • Riparian Ecology & Conservation. DeGruyter pubs. Free. Not indexed yet, quite scientific orientation. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/remc
  • Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia and Latin America (RASAALA) Univ of Guelph.  Free. https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/rasaala/index WoS No, Scopus No.
  • Rural Landscapes: society, environment and history  Stockholm University are the publishers.  Scopus No, WoS No. New, very professional format. Research article fee £250.00. http://www.rurallandscapesjournal.com/
  • Suburban Sustainability  Hofstra Univ.  http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/subsust/  Not much information on site. Assume Scopus No, Web of Sci No, Free.
  • Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy. Scopus listed (Citescore 2016: 1.81). Author fees apply unless you can get a waiver, articles $595, others $295. https://sspp.proquest.com/
  • Transdisciplinary Journal of Environmental Studies. Roskilde University Denmark.   http://www.journal-tes.dk/  Scopus No, Web of Sci no, Free. One of the early ones, now needs a spruce-up.
  • Transitional Waters Bulletin.  Mainly hydrology of coasts, estuaries etc.but some impact studies. University of Salento, Italy. Scopus Y (Citescore 2016 0.28). http://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/twb/index
  • The Trumpeter – Journal of Ecosophy.  un-indexed. http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/index
  • VertigO Pour les francophones seulement. Recherches et d’analyses scientifiques sur les grands problèmes environnementaux contemporains. Non indexed. VertigO
  • Water Alternatives International board and team.   Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016: 2.35), WoS No, Emerging Sources Citation Index Y. Articles up to 12,000 words. Appears to be free to publish. http://www.water-alternatives.org/

Geography (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

  • ACME: the International E-journal for Critical Geographies.   Web of Sci no, Scopus yes, at least for 2015 (they refuse all rankings officially, but are highly cited anyway). (Citescore 2016: 0.98) Free. Canadian university based, run by an academic collective.http://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme
  • Acta Geographica Croatica Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. Some in English.  Unindexed (?) http://hrcak.srce.hr/acta-geographica-croatica
  • Applied GIS   Developed by a colleague at Melbourne. “applied remote sensing” and “applied social science.” Scopus Yes. http://appliedgis.net/
  • Articulo – Journal of Urban Studies Now English only (used to be French as well)  and based at U of Southern Denmark. A nonprofit association registered in France. Free, Scopus yes, WoS No.
  • Ateliê Geográfico Journal. Brazilian, produced by IESA. Unindexed. Tab ‘english’ on RHS. http://www.revistas.ufg.br/atelie/index
  • AUC Geographica ( Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geographica). Karolinum Press, University Press, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.  Scopus Yes, WoS No. Free. Looks ok and internationalised. http://www.aucgeographica.cz/index.php/AUC_Geographica
  • Belgeo. Belgian Journal of Geography. The Belgian geography journal with national Geog Society support. English, Dutch, French and German.   Web of Sci no, Scopus yes ( but citescore 2016,0.0!), Free https://belgeo.revues.org/?lang=en
  • Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles A national association journal of the Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles in Spain. English and Spanish, with a bias towards Spanish topics. H Index 28 which is pretty high. Free, website could use work. Web of Science Yes (2015: 0.35), Scopus Yes. http://boletin.age-geografia.es
  • Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series. Polish journal, Nicolaus Copernicus University. International, published by deGruyter Open. Scopus Yes, WoS No, Emerging Sources Citation Index  yeshttp://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bog
  •  Bulletin of Geography. Physical Geography Series which is not indexed. Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland.  https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bgeo
  • Cinq Continents: Revue Roumaine de Géographie Geography journal. No indexing. French, English, Romanian http://cinqcontinents.geo.unibuc.ro/index.html
  • Croatian Geographical Bulletin/ Hrvatski geografski glasnik  Croatian Geographical Society . In Scopus. http://hrcak.srce.hr/hrvatski-geografski-glasnik
  • Cybergeo – France. General geography, some English articles. Scopus Yes, Web of Science no. Free. Getting a volume number on screen is difficult. http://cybergeo.revues.org/ .
  • Cuadernos GeográficosSince 1971,  University of Granada (Spain). Quite a lot of English papers.Scopus Y    http://revistaseug.ugr.es/index.php/cuadgeo/index
  • Cuadernos de Geografía from Colombia, also OA, but mainly in Spanish.  http://www.revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/rcg
  • Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica. Universidad de La Rioja, Spain. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). Mostly in English, and mostly physical geography, but not exclusively – let’s get more humans in!   https://publicaciones.unirioja.es/ojs/index.php/cig/index
  • Die Erde  Berlin Geog Soc. journal.  Decent. Page charges are € 12.50. Scopus Yes. http://www.die-erde.org/index.php
  • Documents d’Anàlisi Geogràfica Departaments of Geografia de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona i de la Universitat de Girona, Spain. Publishes free in Catalan, English, Spanish. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://dag.revista.uab.es/index
  • EchoGéo  French and English. Produced from the Sorbonne in Paris. Environment and development theme in English and French. Good Board. Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free. https://echogeo.revues.org/?lang=en  
  • L’espace politique. Geopolitics, political geography. Bilingual. No indexing.  https://espacepolitique.revues.org
  • Estudios Geográficos Institute Juan Sebastián Elcano (CSIC), Spain. Nearly all articles are in Spanish but there are instructions in English. Free. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://estudiosgeograficos.revistas.csic.es
  • European Journal of Geography Edited from Greece for the European Association of Geographers. Only takes articles up to 5,000 words (a bit short). Scopus Yes (citescore 0.28, 2016). http://www.eurogeographyjournal.eu/
  • European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (ERLACS) Geographers involved, edited from CEDLA Amsterdam since 1965.  Appears to be free.   Max 8,000 words. Bilingual.  Scopus yes. http://www.erlacs.org/ 
  • European Journal of Spatial Development.  Nordregio, Sweden  and  Delft University of Technology. Free, Scopus Y (Citescore 2016: 1, which is good) , WoS No. http://www.nordregio.se/European-Journal-of-Spatial-Development
  • European Spatial Research and Policy. Edited from University of Lodz, Poland, published by de Gruyter. Free/open. 5000 words limit. Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016, 0.3), WoS no. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/esrp
  • Fennia – International Journal of Geography.  Finnish national Journal with official support. New editor from 2016 & a good choice for international papers. Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index,  and in Scopus (Citescore 2016: 0.62). Free. http://ojs.tsv.fi/index.php/fennia.
  • Finisterra – Revista Portuguesa de Geografia (Portugese, English, Français, Spanish, Italian).  Started in 1996, Universidade de Lisboa. A free journal wanting to internationalise.  Scopus Y (Citescore 0.04, 2016).  Site seems to be sorted out now. http://www.ceg.ul.pt/finisterra
  • Forum Geografic Romanian universities run this. Website is advanced with DOIs and citation management, but it seems impossible to get a list of issues except for the current one,  and there is no ‘about the journal’ page. Free to read and submit. Unindexed.  http://forumgeografic.ro/
  • Geodetski Vestnik  Slovenian official surveying journal. Web of Science Yes  (2015: 0.25) http://www.geodetski-vestnik.com/en/
  • Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space  Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Much local material, not indexed. Free. Bilingual. http://www.ukm.my/geografia/v1/?cont=d&item=1&ver=loc
  • Geografie (published by the Czech Geographic Society  since 1895). All  peer-reviewed and free. Takes longish papers in English and Czech.  Six month lag on pdfs published (under ‘WoS’ tab, made difficult since files are only numbered). Web of Science y  (2015: 0.4) http://geography.cz/sbornik/
  • Geographia Polonica. Produced by Polish Academy of Sciences, Geography Divn.  History. Not bad, and free to publish.  There are printed copies but PDFs are online. Scopus Yes.  https://www.geographiapolonica.pl/
  • Geographica Helvetica. Swiss national geography journal with official support Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free. The lack of indexing is surprising. http://www.geographica-helvetica.net/index.html
  • GeoFocus. Revista Internacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Información Geográfica. Spanish (mainly), Portuguese and English occasionally. A GIS journal. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://www.geofocus.org/index.php/geofocus/index
  • GeoScape Jan Evangelista Purkyne University , Czech Republic, published by de Gruyter. Unindexed. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/geosc
  • Geoverse Undergraduate journal of Geography, run from Oxford Brookes University. Free and un-indexed.  http://geoverse.brookes.ac.uk/
  • Ghana Journal of Geography University of Ghana, Legon. Unindexed.  http://www.ajol.info/index.php/gjg/index
  • Goiano Bulletin of Geography. IESA, Universida de Federal de Goiás. Useful because free, and many recent papers appear in Portuguese and English, or even Spanish  Hit ‘english’ on the RHS. Unindexed but recognised as A2 in Brazil.  http://www.revistas.ufg.br/bgg
  • Human Geographies – Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography University of Bucharest. Free, since 2007. Decent papers. Scopus Yes.  http://www.humangeographies.org.ro 
  • GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites. Published by Romanian and Polish universities. Free online. Scopus Yes. http://gtg.webhost.uoradea.ro/index.html
  • Historical Geography University of New Mexico. Actually, you need a subscription to view the current issue. However free to publish and read thereafter. Scopus Yes.  https://ejournals.unm.edu/index.php/historicalgeography/index
  • International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Quite active. Unindexed. http://dc.uwm.edu/ijger/
  • Italian Journal of Planning Practice New, issue 1 is 2014. Free, not indexed.  http://ijpp.uniroma1.it/index.php/it/index
  • Journal of Alpine Research / Revue de géographie alpine. Institut de géographie alpine, since 1913. A social science journal. Two languages, one of which must be French, Italian, German or Spanish, the other being in English (you are supposed to do your own translation, this may be a constraint). Institut de Géographie Alpine, Grenoble. Web of Science Y, Scopus Y. Free but no CCBY copyright transfer. https://rga.revues.org/?lang=en
  • Journal of Environmental  Geography University of Szeged, Hungary, published by deGruyter. Free to submit and read. Unindexed. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jengeo
  • Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS) Archived at University of Maine, but international and with a good site, as you would expect given the fields of the editors. Scopus yes, WoS N. http://www.josis.org/index.php/josis
  • Journal for Geography  / Revija za geografijo  University of Mariboru, Slovenia. Not indexed. English/Slovenian. Lacks a dedicated web – best I can find is this  http://www.ff.um.si/dotCMS/listProducts?categoryInode=15123.  
  • Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis (the Jura Review). Published at U. of Bucharest and an editor at U. Glasgow. Pretty international. Scopus Yes. http://www.jurareview.ro/index.htm. 
  • Literary Geographies  Edited by Sheila Hones et al. around the world. Unindexed and free I think.  http://www.literarygeographies.net/
  • Métropoles Good urban geography journal, bilingual. no indexing. free.  http://metropoles.revues.org/
  • Miscellanea Geographica: Regional Studies on Development. A Polish journal just becoming more international. Free to publish. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mgrsd 
  • Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft (Communications of the Austrian Geographical Society) Actually this one is NOT fully online for all readers, you have to have a subscription. I put it here since I am hoping they will change their mind, since it is a society published, English and German, Web of Science listed (2015, 0.14) geography journal – so all too rare. http://www.moegg.ac.at
  • Moravian Geographical Reports Now published by DeGruyter for a Czech Republic Institute.  Editor is at York U., Canada though. In both Scopus and Web of Science (impact 2015, 1.1). Some regional focus on Eastern Europe. Free, and PDFs here  http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mgr  
  • Pacific Geographies Small German online journal. WoS N, Scopus N. Free and generally does themed issues on Pacific topics. http://www.pacific-geographies.org/
  • People Place and Policy. Sheffield Hallam University. ‘no rigid house style’ – hurrah! Free. unindexed. http://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/
  • plaNext.  Published by AESOP’s (planning) Young Academics Network in Europe. free. New website is coming. A better name needed? http://www.aesop-youngacademics.net/en/planext
  • Politics of Place “…is a peer-reviewed journal for postgraduates. …. the relationship between culture and spatiality in works of literature, engaging particularly with issues of nationhood, community, class, marginality, and the self”. Not indexed. University of Exeter. Free.  http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/politicsofplace
  • Revista Movimentos Sociais e Dinâmicas Espaciais (Social Movements and Spatial Dynamics). Social Movements and Urban Space Research Group, Brazil (MSEU/UFPE). (5 languages, Portuguese origin). Not indexed.
  • Revista de Geografia Norte Grande (Chilean, seems to be in Spanish only, poor website) Web of Sciencehttp://revistanortegrande.cl/
  • Review of International Geographical Education Online unindexed. International contributors, free, editor is at Eskisehir Osmangazi University,Turkey.  http://www.rigeo.org/  
  • Revista latinoamericana de estudios urbano regionales (EURE) Produced by stalwarts at Universidad Católica de Chile. Mostly Latin American, and  in Spanish but some English papers. Think about it, because in both Scopus and Web of Science (2015: 0.3) and free!  http://eure.cl/index.php/eure/about
  • Spatial Justice / Justice Spatiale Bilingual and each is translated. (They refuse indexing).  http://www.jssj.org/
  • Spatium. Institute of Architecture and Urban and Spatial Planning, Serbia. free, 5000 words max, design/architecture focus. Scopus Y.  http://www.iaus.ac.rs/code/navigate.aspx?Id=220
  • lo Squaderno: explorations in space and societyUniversity of Trento, Italy. Free to read and publish. Based around special issues with some good authors. Short papers.  http://www.losquaderno.professionaldreamers.net/?page_id=2
  • Viaggiatori intends to open an international and interdisciplinary window for debate on the topic of travel in all its forms. Free, first issue 2017. Website lacks some details (article length?) http://www.viaggiatorijournal.com/
  • Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie (the German Journal of Economic Geography) Now published by de Gruyter. As far as I can see, still free to publish and to read in German or English, at least recent issues. Accepts c.7,000-8,000 words, Scopus and Web of Science listed (2015: 0.6) . https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zfw

Turkish Geography journals – there are three, but the website is not yet up to date. http://www.cd.org.tr/?dergiler

Anthropology (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Best list is here http://www.antropologi.info/links/Main/Journals

Croatia http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=casopisi_podrucje&id_podrucje=52

  • AnthropoChildren   Université de Liège. “Ethnographic perspectives on children & childhood” French/English. Free, not indexed. http://popups.ulg.ac.be/2034-8517/index.php
  • Anthropology of Food Free. Not indexed. Dedicated team in France, on the French Revues site. French or English. http://aof.revues.org
  • Anthropology Matters  Student/early career – run UK journal, part of the ASA. Free.  http://www.anthropologymatters.com/
  • Anthropology & Materialism: a Journal of Social Research. From Université Paris 1  Sorbonne and other partners. On the French Revues site. Free and in English, French, German or Spanish. Themes issues yearly (modest number of papers). Free. No indexing yet. http://am.revues.org
  • Anthropological Notebooks  Slovene Anthropological Society. WoS Yes (2015: 0.25), and Scopus Yes. And free! (this appears to be a rare case of all three). Articles up to 10,000 words.  http://www.drustvo-antropologov.si/anthropological_notebooks_eng.html
  • Anthrovision “…visual anthropology and the anthropology of the visual”. Visual Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. free, unindexed yet. http://anthrovision.revues.org 
  • Antipoda   Anthropology/archaeology journal with Latin America focus. Univ. Los Andes, Bogota, The best one in S. America). All papers appear free. Mostly in Spanish. Scopus Y http://antipoda.uniandes.edu.co/index.php
  • Antrocom: Online Journal of Anthropology  Italian, english/italian. some good long articles. No word limits found.  http://www.antrocom.net/
  • Anuac –  international peer-reviewed OA journal of the Associazione nazionale universitaria degli antropologi culturali, Italy. Not indexed, but some very good articles. Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. http://ojs.unica.it/index.php/anuac
  • Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia). Published since 1853. Brill, Netherlands. Web of Science yes (2015: 0.28), Scopus yes. Commercially published but free, due to a professional society subvention. http://www.brill.com/publications/journals/bijdragen-tot-de-taal-land-en-volkenkunde-journal-humanities-and-social-scienc
  • Bulletin de l’APAD  Association Euro-Africaine pour l’Anthropologie du Changement Social et du Développement. Actually this is a really good bilingual journal of development and anthropology. Web of Sci no, Scopus no. Free http://apad.revues.org
  • Chungara, Revista de Antropología Chilena Web of Science (2015: 0.7). http://www.chungara.cl/index.php
  • Collegium Antropologicum Croatia. Journal of the Croatian Anthropological Society. Quite a lot of biological anthropology. Fee suggested: E200. Web of Science Yes, Scopus Yes. http://www.collantropol.hr/antropo/index
  • Cultural Anthropology American Anthropological Association.  OA since 2013. Submission fee $21 if a non-member (member fees for AAA and SCA and vary by income).  Web of Sci Yes (2015: high) and Scopus Yes. Free to read now, for recent years only- it was previously firewalled. http://www.culanth.org/
  • HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory “…aims to situate ethnography as the prime heuristic of anthropology”. In Scopus,  with prestigious authors and a growing presence since 2011. 10,000 words max. They may ask for fees if your institution can pay  – these are not given on the site.   http://haujournal.org 
  • Intersecciones en Antropología (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires). Spanish and occasionally English. 7,000 words max.  Web of Science yes (2015: 0.27)  http://www.interseccionesantro.com/
  • The Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography For undergrad work. You need a faculty sponsor to attest the work is genuine. http://undergraduateethnography.org/
  • Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory: The Journal for the Scientific Study of Culture. Rather specialised. Poor website and a few papers published each year. http://mathematicalanthropology.org/toc.html
  • Omertaa, Journal for Applied Anthropology. Associated with Leuven U. through Expeditions, Research in Applied Anthropology. Unindexed, free I imagine, some good papers, but essential information on submissions is missing from website (format annoying). Last paper was 2014. http://www.omertaa.org/
  • Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana (AIBR) A few English articles, one by Escobar. Free. Indexed in Scopus (low score) and Web of Science (2015: 0.4) http://www.aibr.org/antropologia/netesp/1002.php
  • Sociologisk Forskning Swedish sociology association. Some really good papers in Swedish and a few in English (site is in Swedish). Up to 10,000 words. Scopus and Web of Science (low, 2015: 0.08) http://www.sociologiskforskning.se/
  • Structure and Dynamics eJournal “aspects of human evolution, social structure and behavior, culture, cognition, or related topics”. University of California, Irvine. Free, open.  http://escholarship.org/uc/imbs_socdyn_sdeas
  • Tempo Social Sao Paulo Univ. sociology journal. c.8500 word max. Scopus and Web of Science yes (low) (2015: 0.04)  http://www.revistas.usp.br/ts/index
  • Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America. Trinity University, Digital Commons. Unindexed. Free.  http://digitalcommons.trinity.edu/tipiti/
  • The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology Peer-reviewed, student-run journal of anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/
  • Urbanities: journal of urban ethnography Founded in Italy, University of Kent base. Free. Does not offer CCBY copyright but it is there in spirit. Scopus Yes. http://www.anthrojournal-urbanities.com/
  • Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology  Brazilian Anthropological Association. English, French and Spanish. Free. Unindexed. http://vibrant.revues.org.
  • World Cultures eJournal University of California. An anthropology journal, open and free, but few papers published each year. http://www.worldcultures.org/ (click on top link, if you get an old school page)

Urban studies and planning (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Area Studies

Other social science of interest (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Publishing and university teaching/research issues (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

  • The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Journal of the All Ireland Society for Higher Education . Free to publish. Scopus and WoS no(AISHE)  http://ojs.aishe.org/index.php/aishe-j 
  • Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. Lakehead University. Free, unindexed. Yearly themed issue, 7,000 word max. https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/index
  • Critical Education (sister journal to Workplace below)  free,  schools focus. http://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/index, In the Emerging Sources Citation Index.
  • Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning. South Africa, higher education focus. Not the same as Critical Studies in Education, which is published by Taylor&Francis. Unindexed.     http://cristal.epubs.ac.za/index.php/cristal/index#.
  • Education Policy Analysis Archives One of the very first OA journals on education policy, started by Gene Glass, Arizona State Univ. in 1993 on an old computer.  Trilingual and freehttp://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/  Scopus y. 
  • First Monday. Web and internet issues. http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/index Scopus y, WoS N
  • IARTEM eJournal. International Association for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media http://biriwa.com/iartem/ejournal/  Free, double refereed but not indexed. Desperately needs a more catchy name!
  • Insights (Insights: the UKSG journal) On scholarly communication/knowledge http://insights.uksg.org  Free to publish. Scopus and WoS no.
  • International Higher Education.  “IHE is not a scholarly journal, but rather a periodical that seeks to inform its readers through short well-written articles, written in a lively style and emphasizing analysis. Authors are encouraged to include relevant statistics where needed, although not in tables or graphs. Also, references and citations should not be included in submitted articles. IHE articles are typically 1,000 words in length; they are written concisely and to the point.” http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ihe/index
  • Irish Journal of Academic Practice. Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre (LTTC), Dublin Institute of Technology. Free to publish. Scopus and WoS no.http://arrow.dit.ie/ijap/
  • JLIS.it, Italian Journal of Library, Archives, and Information Science Scopus Y. free. https://www.jlis.it/
  • Journal of Electronic Publishing. Dates to 1995, US university  based at Michigan. Scopus yes. Free. http://www.journalofelectronicpublishing.org/about.html 
  • Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies. Edited between UK and Greece by Prof. Steve Hill  http://www.jceps.com/  Scopus Yes, WoS no.
  • Journal of Sustainability Education From Prescott College, AZ and uses an open review systemNo issue numbers, which I find confusing, since journals should not look like a blog. http://www.jsedimensions.org Free, not indexed. 
  • Journal Plus Education. Educational sciences, edited from From Romania. unindexed. Free. http://www.uav.ro/jour/index.php/jpe
  • Journal of Research Practice. “..aims to develop our understanding of research as a type of practice”.  Athabasca University Press, Canada, free.  http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp Scopus y
  • Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation (PARE). Education and assessment. Voluntary effort but sponsorship is now coming in.  Scopus Yes. http://pareonline.net
  • Radical Pegagogy. US university based. unindexed  http://www.radicalpedagogy.org/
  • International Journal of Education for Social Justice (RIEJS). Spanish (mostly) English and Portuguese. 8000 words max, themed issues, but also sole articles. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Indexed in Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index  https://revistas.uam.es/riejs/index http://www.rinace.net/riejs/
  • RIO (Research Ideas and Outcomes).  Publishes things like grant proposals, figures, and other non-article findings as well as articles. Not indexed, obviously, post-publication refereeing, charges vary (conference presentation €100,  failed grant proposal €0, article €550 [too expensive] but there are plenty of discounts. Pensoft, a Bulgarian company. http://riojournal.com
  • Southern African Journal of Environmental Education. Published by the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa. Unindexed. Free.  http://www.ajol.info/index.php/sajee/index
  • tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society. Produced by academics in London universities.  Indexed in Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index and SCOPUS Y. http://triplec.at/index.php/tripleC/index
  • Viaggiatori intends to open an international and interdisciplinary window for debate on the topic of travel in all its forms. Free, first issue 2017. Website lacks some details (article length?) http://www.viaggiatorijournal.com/
  • Workplace: Journal of Academic Labour.  US based, good editors, free. Not indexed.  http://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/workplace/index 
  • [Journal of Educational Integrity (bought by Springer, now Integrity comes expensive)]

Book Publishers

Most academic publishers now sell electronic versions of books alongside print copies, but you have to buy them with a credit card.  The ones below are different because they charge the authors to publish, or are free to authors, and make the book CC-BY and free to read. Usually, you can still buy a print copy if you wish. Many universities also publish their PhD theses for free download – for example Amsterdam, Wageningen where under the Dutch model, they are nicely boud and presented in hard copy.  See http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Publishers_of_OA_books for a full list of publishers. See OAPEN for humanities and social sciences open books from different sources, mainly European. http://www.oapen.org/home  and the Knowledge Unlatched project that makes books available. 

*Scopus only lists only  bona fide journals of all types, totalling over 30,000 of which a growing percentage are OA, and assigns them scores for impact. The masterlist can be downloaded here. Web of Science (formerly ISI) encompasses the top journals in the world by impact so it is a bit more selective. Here is the master list.  The same company have recently started the Emerging Sources Citation Index listings which is journals that are rising in impact but not yet on the WoS. There are many other indeces of impact, but none are counted seriously in the world’s top academic establishments.

**I have left off MDPI journals like Recycling because while some are free, eventually they usually go over the $500 limit as they abecome better patronised, and the company had some bad press (but is currently in the clear). You can browse their list.

Refs

R. Cahill and T. H. Irving 2015 ‘Radical Academia: Beyond the Audit Culture Treadmill‘  Radical Sydney/Radical History blog

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Filed under academic relevance, Open access publishing, political ecology

Short article on radical scholarship

Batterbury, S.P.J. 2015. Who are the radical academics today? The Winnower  6pp.

ABSTRACT

This brief article suggests radical scholarship needs redefinition in the reality of contemporary university life. It must include the conduct of research that supports justice; greater relevance and engagement outside the university; and more attention to  “…the ethics by which and toward which knowledge is produced”, meaning the maintenance of sound personal ethics in everyday life. To be rude, selfish and unduly ambitious demeans any remaining progressive agenda in today’s universities.

https://thewinnower.com/papers/327-who-are-the-radical-academics-today

Please comment on the Winnower site.  Read by 2300 people in a  month!

Earlier blog version with comments: https://simonbatterbury.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/where-have-the-radical-scholars-gone/

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Filed under academic relevance, engaged scholarship, Open access publishing, tenure

Open access journal publishing – the change is coming

Updated 2015

This is about publishing academic articles, and where and how this should happen.

Working in a university with up to 40% of my time devoted to research, it is nice to publish work that people appreciate and read, and this is also necessary to retain your place in a research university. I’ve published in a few academic  journals that have quite high standards, as well as writing in books and online outlets. I never really considered the ethics of publishing until recently. Most of the main journals are still run by big publishers, like Springer, Elsevier. I sign the copyright to the article away to them on publication. They prepare then sell the journals, either singly or in bulk packages, to university libraries and other institutions. So if you are a member of the public you have no access to most articles of this type – but you can buy an individual article from them online, usually for $20-30 each. For example, in Geoforum, a note of appreciation for editor Hilary Backhouse, not even an article,  will cost you $19.95 to download! For university people, you have to hope your university has bought that journal from the publisher and stocks it online or in hard copy.

Some academics, particularly junior ones, feel they have to (or actually they need to) publish in the top journals that are owned by the major publishers and to assure their careers, and to get professional advancement. And sometimes, an article just ‘fits’ best with one of these journals.  In North America there is the specific hurdle of preparing a dossier for tenure after 6 years in the job,  for which you need a solid research portfolio before being considered for a permanent contract. Senior gatekeepers in disciplines often do not always appreciate that a brilliant piece of work can be published outside the top journals.

Thinking hard about publishing

George Monbiot’s populist comments in 2011 prompted me to think hard about academic journal publishing. He accuses the main publishers of making excessive profits and locking up research outputs. He does not spare his criticism – they are ripping off academics by charging for material that was produced by them, then selling it back to them at high cost, through their libraries. And as a believer in peer-reviewed literature, Monbiot points out that the public cannot even check his sources for his article because they can’t get behind a publisher’s paywall to do so!

The Open Access debate ramped up when a bunch of mathematicians pointed  out, around the same time,  that Elsevier, in particular, was worthy of a boycott until they made our work more available, more accessible, and cheaper.  The campaign (Cost of Knowledge)  has argued quite cogently that this company charged very high prices for journals (particularly in Maths), and these costs were locking up their work only to people who had access through their institutions (even if the work was publicly or taxpayer funded). The campaign, which has attracted over 14,000 signatures,  was partially successful for maths with some journal price reductions later put in place, and opening up of some more OA articles from archives.However the campaign flagged as of late 2013,and in 2015 there is little monitoring or movement.

One great quote by  Roberto Alamino on the Cost of Knowledge:   “I wonder why the scientific community took so long to notice what was happening… we were supposed to be the smart guys…”  Quite. And in fact, over the decades and with the arrival of advanced computer software, publishers have less work to do and yet prices at the point of sale have increased. The movement that this campaign has inspired been dubbed the “Academic Spring“, a great turn of phrase. Mike Taylor has called publishing behind a paywall “immoral”, which has made people think. Nature, one of the hardest journals to get published in, launched an issue and a page devoted exclusively to the OA debate in March 2013. An entire Board just resigned. Scott Aaronson’s thoughts are priceless.

Furthermore, through 2011 and 2012 there were some high profile announcements from Harvard University, and the Russell Group in the UK, among others, about the crippling bills they were getting from the major publishers to stock their journals in their libraries (electronically or in paper copies). The large profit margins of the journals and Elsevier were again mentioned. Some publishers, including one I work with, do at least offer cheaper deals for subscriptions by developing country universities. There is some debate about this.

The Elsevier campaign has had some partial wins (eg in maths), but Elsevier have not responded by dramatically reducing their journal costs across-the-board, or by allowing authors to retain copyright for its ‘conventional’ journals.  They have responded in smaller ways – e.g. at Geoforum journal, they have offered some incentives and prizes to young authors, after the editors published an open letter asking exactly what value for money they were getting from using this publisher (see also Nick Blomley’s 2006 editorial). For comparison,  a Melbourne  presentation from Oct 2012 by an Elsevier staffer gave a company line – the various protests are not mentioned at all, nor the high charges made to convert an article to OA.  Fortunately, in the UK (the Finch report in mid 2012, and the aid agency DfID) and in the USA (White House report 2013 and NIH rules, and here), there is growing movement by western governments to  make publicly funded  research available in open access form, although governments are mostly unwilling to pay Gold open access fees to commercial publishers, which is upsetting universities worried that will have to fund some of these themselves. Implications for one academic field in the UK  summarised here by Lee Jones (Aug 2013). The Finch report may actually benefit publishers, if publishing fees are paid to their OA journals, as this article  argues.

The publishers are certainly not happy about all aspects of this, and Elsevier were widely condemned in the US in 2012 for resisting this and related measures (but had to withdraw this stance). In 2013, Taylor&Francis delayed publication of an article in Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation criticising commercial publishing models. Read it here. Publishers are concerned about more content being forced to appear online for free, but surely the move is inexorable, folks? The US will henceforth demand material from its US government grants become publicly available after one year (the initial discussion was suggesting only six months embargo, but anyway…). The same has happened in Canada for health research  (see comment below). There is an argument that only highly selective journals “filter” articles that are really important, but this is hard to prove and may be changing. A recent 2013 paper by Cook et al on climate science consensus  in the online Environmental Research Letters immediately reached an international audience – journalists and the public could access it.

My role

My role in all of this? I have made a few interventions online.

  • Phil Steinberg and I have disagreed about whether to donate free or cheap labour to the big journals – I am prepared to give it a miss until the issues are resolved, but he will stick with it. (see the bottom of the page) None of us like overcharging by publishers. What constitutes overcharging is another debate. Read on.
  • Here is a discussion in the Times Higher and on crit-geog-forum
  • And at the LH Martin Institute
  • and in the Sydney Morning Herald  (paywall imminent)

But also I am a managing editor of the Journal of Political Ecology, one of the oldest online journal in the social sciences, started by former colleagues at the University of Arizona. I got the job when at the University of Arizona in 2003, and have continued it in Australia. Since we charge authors nothing and the readers nothing either, and the website is kindly hosted by the University of Arizona, we are a “Gold” Open Access journal that places no restrictions on readership.  I have been asked what it costs to post up an article on the Journal website – the answer is about $200 if I do it in the working week, and sometimes more if I edit the grammar and English (you could factor in the writing time of the author as well I suppose). All the work is done on a 13 inch laptop, often at the weekend.  Casey Walsh, the other editor handling manuscripts, is I am sure little different. Referees kindly work for free. My costing is on Ed Carr’s website.

In Feb 2013 I was at a seminar on open access publishing organised by John Wiley publishers in Melbourne. Many journal editors were there and I met some nice people. It is clear (to me) that the writing is on the wall for major publishers sticking to the “reader pays and we retain copyright” model. The public, especially the internet savvy public, will not bear it much longer and dissent in the ranks of researchers and academics is also growing, concerned with copyright allocation and high costs. The wide dissemination of copyrighted material from journals is also growing, because you can’t police the internet to stop that. Try Google Scholar and search for something you are after, and see the PDF copies that often crop up. Governments realise this too as they demand open  publishing of funded papers, government reports and some datasets.

Some at the Melbourne meeting thought that publishing companies are  going to have to shift over to “author pays” (commercial open access) rather than “readers pay” (the current model). But currently publishers are charging ridiculous amounts for the former –  if you want your article in a conventional journal to be made open access on the journal’s website.  For making an article open access in an otherwise closed-access journal – something up to $3,000 (up to 1700 pounds) per paper. This is insane, as Ed Carr points out. Fortunately some new journals are waiving such costs, which are subsidised from elsewhere – see Asia & Pacific Policy Studies published by Wiley which is a good deal. And in March 2013, Elsevier launched two new OA Gold climate journals with no costs for one year here.

Currently the Journal of Political Ecology undercuts almost everybody, because it is produced not to make money but just to put stuff out that the journal team thinks is important and well presented.  Goodness knows where we are in any rankings, but we do quality control just like everybody else. Other journals have a similar ethos, ACME included. We are not chasing a quick buck. The content of the journals is the stuff that we do and believe in.

For the moment all my work goes on to my website (another way to insure open access), as it has since 1995. I still work with conventional journals and sit on editorial boards, and the best in most disciplines are unfortunately still published that way, but I can’t see the current system holding out for much longer than 5-10 years.

The OA caution

The possibility of making money by running online journals is not confined to major publishers. Now we have the internet, anybody can do it – set up a website, choose a journal name, and off you go. For the list of journals that are bringing a bad name to Open Access publishing,  by seeing it just as a commercial opportunity, see  Jeffrey Beall’s list – http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers and  http://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals . These are companies or individuals who have realised they can offer rapid publication for academics, by charging them for publishing a paper in some newly established journal.  These are not serious efforts in most cases and some will not last long. Others may survive, but check carefully.

Those on Beall’s list (Beall now has an article about his work in Nature!) are sometimes flagrant moneymakers and poor quality, and he says may be 5–10% of the total OA offering, but the standard publishing model that locks your stuff up behind a pay wall and holds the copyright isn’t all that sustainable either, even if the quality control is better. As governments are cottoning on to this lark and telling academics they have to make their work open access if it is a  study funded by taxpayers, we are set for a major upset in the publishing world.

What to do?

If you are reading this and are desperate to get hold of an article that is locked behind a paywall, please just write directly to the author. They are allowed to mail you back the PDF copy if there is one. Academics used to operate this system by sending authors  little postcards asking for reprints, up until a few years ago…now we have email. It works. If you are an author, “Green OA” is where you just post up a preprint copy online  (the version of a paper that is sent off to the publisher) often on a university eprints site. That version is always your intellectual property. And many publishers will let you post some version or other on a personal webpage. An article posted on the internet for free gets more hits and usually more citations (according to a big Southampton University study), especially if picked up by Google Scholar.

So, there is an adverse political economy of open access operating, and it is slowly working itself out. The present system is all about money, and to a certain extent about power and control as well (a debate in Political Geography, now unfree). The big changes to modes of publishing have already happened with music. Think about that story. Now stuff circulates freely via MP3,  and the cat is out of the bag. You hardly need a music  label  if you have the money to record on your own. It’s bad that copyright is frequently ignored, but music gets heard, and there are some benefits to artists  that way. I don’t download music (or videos) myself, but I have witnessed the complete downfall of the major record labels and CD shops (bad) over 10 years, and the establishment of file servers and online outlets for ITunes etc. allowing more music to circulate easily (good). The quality of music has not suffered but the labels have, because so many artists can now just do their own thing.

Transpose this to academic journal publishing? Hopefully a more controlled and regulated change will emerge for articles and journals. In the same way as for music, the quality of a written article will not suffer if it becomes more accessible.  Of course, Beer (2012) notes the parallels to music and reminds us that algorithms may help determine what pops up for us to ‘like’  when searching for material, and this is not really ‘democratic’ so we should be careful with open access. Viral-marketing academics could rise to the top of a greasy pole run by automated search engines. What we need:

  • Gatekeepers in universities (tenure committees, promotions committees, research committee chairs, Heads) need to realise that open access journal publishing is as good, if not better, than the present mainstream alternatives. Please read the work on its merit, rather than looking at the journal title. Also a  book reviewed for an open access publisher by several top academics can be just as good as one that went through the same process with a major University Press.
  • Gatekeepers in universities need to recognise that working on journals is part of our jobs. It takes time, brings prestige, and is part of service and research activity. Not all employers acknowledge this work or count it towards increments or promotion. If greater recognition were to happen, publishing and refereeing would be so much easier. The loop between production, distribution, and consumption would be closed.
  • Publish where you think it is best (or quickest, or most ethical) to publish. Not where peer pressure asserts it is in your interest. We are not there yet – few are able or willing to do this.
  • Get commercial publishers to have OA publication options for authors in existing journals (if you need to publish in them) in the $100-500 range, per paper. Enough to provide for page layups and checking, and server space and management, and low enough that an average academic could actually afford to pay.
  • Support the OA sector in working out its pricing. Variation is currently wide, for reasons that are unclear. Solomon and Björk calculate an average fee of US$906 (with an upper of almost $4,000!)  fee to author, which is too much in my view. van Noorden in Nature (2013) has some good price data. The prices at Sage Open were good ($99, social science startup journal, up to $395 in 2015); at PLOS Currents: Disasters and ACME they are free; at Ecology & Society  and ERLhope somebody else is paying (US$975 and $1600, but they are at least  linked to professional societies).  Journals in the $1500-$3000 range, forget it for most people unless you have grants (costs are a live issue with research funders). See Roger Clarke’s paper on costings and another on 6 month embargo costs*.
  • Realise that university libraries are solid places to host electronic journals in perpetuity, as part of their expanded mission in the internet age.  They can bypass the commercial publishers. Failing that, good editors can keep an archive going of their journals, and backed up. It is not that hard.

Brian Martin’s 2012 note on OA has another suitable list of recommendations.

Conclusion

Still we are sucked in, and I was for a decade, to the idea that there is little ethics for authors to consider when they are publishing, and getting a spot in a good journal is a legitimate aim without engaging your conscience at all. A radical position (perhaps denied early career scholars) is to leave behind some of the big publishers entirely, at least until they reduce their Gold open access fees, and don’t charge libraries as much. Or some will ignore publisher’s copyright to the material (which is of course how the world works these days, with Google Scholar, personal web pages, Twitter and the like) and get it out there via other means.”  SB, source highlighted

*The issue of journals supported by professional societies requires a whole other discussion.

Update June 2013

See here for publisher’s responses in the US to the Obama legislation authorising open access after 1 year for federally funded research. Their CHORUS proposal will direct searches to their own articles.

Oct 28 2013 At the LSE – high powered discussion about humanities and social science OA

January 2015. A new initiative at the University of California Press is interesting. Reviewers and editors of OA journals are paid a small amount of the APC for a new journal to ramp up their participation. Money is also vired between disciplines, some of which have little money to meet such charges. .

References
Beer D. 2012. Open access and academic publishing: Some lessons from music culture. Political Geography 31(8)479-480.

Nov 2014 France pays money to Elsevier in a block transfer for all public universities. http://blog.okfn.org/2014/11/11/france-prefers-to-pay-twice-for-papers-by-its-researchers/

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December 7, 2012 · 8:19 am