Thursday, September 20, 2007

Canadian Journal of Sociology Goes OA

Dr. Kevin Haggerty, incoming Editor of the Canadian Journal of Sociology, has written an eloquent Editorial: Change and Continuity at the Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie explaining some changes at this well-established journal, begun in 1975 by a group of 5 sociologists at the University of Alberta, and presently considered a premiere publication venue, well-cited with global readership. All changes are motivated by "a desire to ensure that the journal's reputation for excellent scholarship are maintained and advanced".

The most major of these changes is a shift from a print /subscription model to an electronic-only, fully open access model, using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software, hosted by University of Alberta Libraries.

It is very much worth reading this article for the well-articulated reasons presented by Dr. Haggerty for the move to open access. One reason is greater impact for authors, by reaching a wider global community of scholars, policymakers, and activists. Because it makes research available to the public, open access also advances efforts to nurture a form of public sociology, according to Dr. Haggerty.

The electronic-only format permits editorial decisions to be made independently from financial considerations. The number and length of articles accepted for publication, for example, can be made entirely on the basis of merit, and not on the basis of the cost of printing the article. While no change is anticipated in the number of articles published, there will be more opportunity to publish discussion and debate.

Electronic-only has environmental advantages, as well as enhanced functionality.

Dr. Haggerty talks candidly about the agony of the economic decision. Subscription revenue has been the major source of funding for the journal, even though most of the subscription revenue was taken up in the expense of printing, subscription management and postage. Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has emerged as a strong supporter of open access publishing, a significant enabler and support for this move.

Many thanks to Dr. Haggerty and the Canadian Journal of Sociology for yet another outstanding example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Thanks also to Pam Ryan at OA / UA Open Access Publishing Information for the University of Alberta Community.

[The University of Alberta is my alma mater, and U of A librarian OA heroes, Pam Ryan and Denise Koufougiannakis, are former classmates].