The Open Access Movement In Academic Publishing

The Open Access Movement In Academic Publishing

I apologize that I look like someone voting for 3.5 and then sometime later saying that they only support 1.5, but I am not interested now in discussing that matter. 

So, here I go.

1) I support Open Access in academic journal publications.

2) OTOH I grant that commercial publishers of academic journals should be able to demand payment for people accessing articles fully available in their journals, within “reason.” 

3) I agree that academic journals should allow authors to allow free access to their articles, but also that they may allow this not to be the case.

So, let me be more specific here. I have recently had a difficult situation regarding this. So awhile ago I was invited by someone I know I take seriously to submit a paper for a special issue in this issue, a 30-year retrospective on econophysics in the mostly physics journal, Entropy, published by mdpli.

I did not fully read the long pro-open access screed that accompanied this invitation, which came after the invitation from someone I knew personally. The publisher, mdpi, provided a very long proclamation explaining their support for the Open Access Movement, something I generally favor. Anyway, I poozed out on reading their long speech on this, so missed far down into it where they declared that any author publishing in their journal should agree to pay a sum defined in Swiss currency terms just below $2000. So when my paper was accepted after a long pile of mostly bs, I received an invoice for nearly 2K USD,, which I was unaware was coming due.

So there is this movement for open access that has become a very big deal in US academia. It involves academic library relations with major publishers of journals and much else. It has led to my own uni, JMU, no longer accepting papers from a journal I used to edit, JEBO, a journal pubbed by “the evil empire,” Elsevier. This decision by my uni’s library meant that I got a 10 percent discount on the invoice that arrived on my desk to publish this paper, “Econophysics and the Entropic Foundations of Economics.”.

I have very mixed feelings about all this. I have had journals offer me this option after they accepted a paper of mine to allow open access of my paper if I would pay about 2k. But if I said no, then my paper would be published.  When recently offered such an option, I failed to accept them.

When this invoice came I complained mightily. Eventually, they offered a large discount, and my uni paid for it. But I see a serious bottom line here:

who is supposed to pay for all this, authors or their bakers or others?

This is mostly a physics journal, and most of them have funds in their grants for publication costs. But most social scientists do not have such funds in their grants even when they have them. There is a serious bottom line here, and I do not think authors should be made to pay for this.

Barkley Rosser