Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is DOAJ inadvertently promoting publisher power over scholars?

The Directory of Open Access Journals has a new feature, to narrow a search by Creative Commons licenses. This can be very useful for the article level search, as searchers may be looking for re-usable content. I use this type of limitation when searching flickr for photos that I can re-use, for example.

However, when this is used to calculate the percentage of DOAJ journals using a particular CC license, as Peter Suber does in this post this inadvertently makes the assumption that choice of licensing is made (should be made?) by journals and publishers, not by scholars.

Merely framing a research question in this way can limit the way that we think of potential answers. For example, there appears to be no way in this categorization to consider an approach such as that of First Monday, which provides authors with a range of choices. This is the option that I recommend for journals, the one that is most compatible with author choice and Freedom for scholarship in the internet age. The last thing that scholars need in the transition to open access is to replace subscription-publisher overlords with open access-publisher overlords.

This post is part of the Creative Commons and Open Access Critique series.