With Growth Comes Growing Pains

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					                                                                                                                                                                       InformationToday             17
                                                                                                                                                                         www.infotoday.com   December 2008

                                                                                                                                                     So knowing how editorial boards work
       Focus on Publishing                                                                                                                        and being a researcher in scholarly jour-
                                                                                                                                                  nals in particular, I was surprised when

With Growth Comes Growing Pains                                                                                                                   I was invited—as apparently were thou-
                                                                                                                                                  sands of others—to join Scientific Jour-
                                                                                                                                                  nals International (SJI), which seeks to
by ROBIN PEEK   |                                     However, I am no longer referring to not be purchasing the BioMed Central’s                 publish journals under an OA model. But
                                                  OA as a movement. It has achieved its (BMC) OA journals if they were not well-                  it wouldn’t matter if they were trying to

         pen access (OA) had quite a good         own momentum. Returning                              run and well-respected.                    launch a toll-access journal under the
         year in 2008. The first interna-         to any pre-OA time just won’t                                                                   same approach.
         tional Open Access Day was held          happen. But it was inevitable                        The Cost of
on Oct. 14, sponsored by Scholarly Pub-           that new issues would emerge
lishing and Academic Resources Coali-             as OA matured—issues that                            Good Journals                                                The number of
tion (SPARC), Public Library of Science           involve the newcomers them-                             One fundamental question
(PLoS), and the Students For Free Cul-            selves. When OA was still an                         remains: Do we need more jour-                               OA journals is
ture. The event demonstrated that OA              inchoate movement (before we                         nals or can we sustain more                               increasing, both
had crossed into every continent and is           even called it OA), I knew the                       than we have? Good journals
now a multigenerational process.                  folks who were participating                         require good editors, editorial                             in new and toll
   The National Institutes of Health’s            in its formation. Now, with the        Robin Peek    boards, referees, and a flow of                              access to OA.
mandate is triggering a sharp uptick in           groundswell of interest, the                         quality papers. If a young jour-
submissions, despite continuing objections        names that might flicker on my screen are nal has any chance of gaining traction in
from the publishing lobby. The number of          unknown or unmeasured. But at times, I the marketplace, it has to have an editor
OA journals is increasing, both in new and        am unsettled or even startled by the paths who is committed to its well-being and who
                                                                                                                                                  Engaging Secret Editors
toll access to OA. Institutional reposito-        that some of these players have chosen can also gather a board to add reputation                   SJI espouses a “quadruple-blind” peer-
ries are also increasing (625 institutional       to follow. Of particular concern is the and editorial assistance to the project. The            review system, a model that has never
and 109 cross-institutional, to date). The        management of some of the OA journals relationship between the editor and the                   before appeared in the scholarly commu-
41st Harvard OA mandate passed, and               that are now appearing. Without ques- editorial board is a critical one, and it is              nication literature. To achieve this, the
other major institutions began to follow          tion, we have already seen that OA jour- industry practice that members of an en-               company won’t reveal who its editors are
(57 institutional and funder mandates             nals can be well-managed as toll-access tire board submit their resignations when               so that they can’t be influenced. But that
have been adopted to date, with 11 more           journals, whether they operate by charg- an editor resigns so that a new editor can
pending). And these are all good things.          ing a fee or not. Springer would certainly build a board of his or her choosing.                                    (continued on page 18)

       Internet Waves                                                                                     Legal Issues

Sunlight Disinfects Anti-Spam                          People often shade the truth, conve-
                    Legislation Setbacks            niently omit edgy details, or lie outright,

           nce upon a time, I was a young which is why we’re big on background
           reporter. Now I am a middle- checks. What starts out as a light feature
           aged news researcher. To put it about the friendly neighborhood barber                   by GEORGE H. PIKE   |                         Not All Spam Is Illegal
mildly, the news business has changed turns into something else entirely when we

over the decades in between.                                  check the sex offender registry             n the fall, I gave a report on email          One threshold challenge is that not all
And I could use too many col-                                 and find out that we’re dealing             at a University of Pittsburgh fac- unsolicited email is illegal. Courts have rec-
umn inches here bemoaning                                     with Chester the Molester.                  ulty meeting. Among the statistics ognized that the First Amendment protects
and/or defending all these                                        We’re spoiled here in Florida,    I reported was that in March 2008, the the right to advertise goods and services.
changes. But that wouldn’t be                                 which is a state with open rec-       University of Pittsburgh email servers While the protections on this form of “com-
productive or highly original,                                ords. All official records are eas-   received 505 million email                                 mercial free speech” are not as
since so many media critics                                   ily accessible on the open web,       messages. Of that number,                                  expansive as noncommercial
and apologists do this on an                                  which is not to say that individ-     more than 410 million mes-                                 speech, absolute bans on com-
ongoing basis.                                                uals with money and/or clout          sages were spam. That’s for                                mercial email may not be legal.
    What hasn’t changed about                                 can’t “make things go away.”          just one modest email domain                                  This was recently demon-
the news business is the quest        Shirley Duglin Kennedy  But you have to check it out.         for 1 month.                                               strated when the Virginia Su-
for truth and accuracy. I’m proud                                 But every once in a while,           Actually, that number is                                preme Court struck down that
to say that at least it hasn’t changed in an individual is appointed or elected to a                not too surprising. Current                                state’s anti-spam statute be-
the little corner of the media world where “position of trust” and turns out to have      
Description: The number of open access (OA) journals is increasing, both in new and toll access to OA. But a particular concern is the management of some of the OA journals that are now appearing. The Scientific Journals International (SJI) is seeking to publish journals under an OA model. SJI espouses a "quadruple-blind" peer-review system, a model that has never before appeared in the scholarly communication literature. Some of the newer journal publishers also purport to publish a collection of journals. But on their Web sites, the majority of these titles are mere place holders. These publishing ventures can be a particular waste of time for the individuals involved and for academia in general. Maybe it's time to establish standards.
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