How and where can you publish your HSS research?


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From Louise Skelding’s panel discussion on Open Access and HSS research on Wednesday, October 24 at the University of Dundee.

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  • Different degrees of OA, and different terms in use to denote how Open the OA actually is. Green = publishing in a traditional journal but making the post print version of your paper available through an institutional or subject repository immediately on publication. Delayed open access = as above, but observing an embargo period as set by the publisher. Many major commercial publishers apply an embargo period of 12 months in HSS to protect subscription sales. Gold = publishing in a journal that provides immediate OA to the final version of the paper on the publisher’s website. This is funded by the author on payment of an article processing charge. You might also have heard the terms Gratis OA and Libre OA: Gratis is providing free access to papers online; Libre is free access plus additional rights. It’s not synonymous with the Green/Gold distinction as it’s about what users can do with the article. This is determined by by what licence is being used. Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence means that users can do whatever they like with the article i.e. distribute, copy, make derivative works from it, as long as proper attribution is given. Creative Commons Attribution (non-commercial) (CC-BY-NC): as before, but not for commercial purposes.
  • Various factors have led us to where we are today. Government funding and library budgets continue to shrink, and libraries are having to spend more and more on the “big deal” with the mega-publishers. There must be a better way! The OA movement has caught the media’s attention and has been covered by the major national broadsheets. Also, conversation in the blogosphere is intense.
  • “ Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist.” George Monbiot writing in the Guardian last year. Public reaction against perceived profiteering of publishers (Elsevier made a profit margin of 36% in 2010). The Cost of Knowledge is a protest by academics against Elsevier’s high journal prices and restricted subscription options that “force” libraries to buy the big deal. Call for lower prices for journals and promotion of increased OA to information. Researchers are asked to sign a statement committing not to support Elsevier journals by publishing, reviewing or providing editorial board services. Chaired by Dame Janet Finch, group was made up of individuals drawn from academia, research funders and publishing. They were tasked with recommending how to develop a model, which would be both effective and sustainable over time, for expanding access to the published findings of research. Quickly followed up with announcements by funding bodies.
  • The RCUK has come out in favour of Gold OA over Green. This is RCUK’s position statement, from 2005. They favour Gold because it fulfils the first two requirements: immediate OA (no need to wait for an embargo period to elapse) and the lay reader has the assurance of the publisher’s brand (i.e. a kitemark) to know they are reading the final version of the paper.
  • During the transition period (not yet defined), in recognition that they will need more time to adjust to OA, HSS journals with a 12 month embargo will comply, but this will be reduced to 6 months eventually. Some discussion around whether publishers will raise embargo periods to force authors to choose the Gold option. RCUK said they have written to the top 60 publishers of RCUK-funded research about how they will comply and had had a positive response so far. With Gold, RCUK wants to create a market for APCs. Will make data on what institutions are spending on APCs so libraries can negotiate with publishers on subscription price.
  • Institution must administer funds. Will they try to influence what journals authors are publishing in i.e. Preference for cheaper ones? What happens when the funds are all spent? Plus libraries are still going to have to pay for international journals. OA will only really work if it is global in scale. See and
  • How to find pure OA journals? More than 1600 are listed in the DOAJ in social sciences, history and archaeology, arts and architecture, languages and literature, philosophy and religion.
  • Pure OA journals common in STM e.g. PLoS titles. As major HSS publisher, SAGE launched SAGE Open in January 2011. Mirrors PLoS model: - First broad-scale OA product tailored to the social sciences, behavioral sciences, and humanities - Constructive, methodology-based peer-review and continuous, rapid publication New features enable the community to extend peer-review beyond acceptance APC is currently at special rate of $395 (regular fee: $695) for each published article. Authors who do not have the means to cover the publication fee may request a waiver after acceptance.
  • Lots of new OA journals are springing up, including some with less than honourable intentions. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver publishes a list of potentially unscrupulous OA publishers. He has a long list of criteria that includes whether publishers: - Comply with various ethical standards: Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) Code of Conduct, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers - Re-publish papers or publish papers that contain plagiarism - Use spam email to solicit manuscripts or editorial board memberships, or review requests - Have no policies or practices that relate to digital preservation - Focus on authors (not readers) and on getting their fees at the expense of readers, and offers few or no value adds to readers such as RSS feeds, hotlinked references, etc.
  • Alternative is to publish in a hybrid journal. This option has been available at SAGE for a number of years on out STM journals, plus a handful of HSS journals. So that authors can comply with funding requirements and still publish in their chosen journal, publishers have been rolling out their optional OA programme across their whole list. SAGE Choice is now $1500 for HSS journals. Take up has been very low at SAGE: less than 1% of papers published in participated journals have elected to be published as SAGE Choice. I found a similar figure reported by Elsevier on their website.
  • How and where can you publish your HSS research?

    1. 1. Open Access in the Humanities andSocial Sciences Louise Skelding Senior Publishing Editor, SAGE Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    2. 2. What is Open Access?● Green;● Delayed Open Access;● Gold;● Gratis or Libre?;● Licences: CC-BY-WTF? Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    3. 3. Open Access movement● Rapid growth of the internet and internet access;● Print journals are becoming obsolete;● Internet provides new ways of communicating research (and not just through peer-reviewed publication);● Rising cost of journals;● Tax payers should be able to access results of government-funded research. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    4. 4. Moving faster toward OA● “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist.” (August 2011);● Cost of Knowledge (January 2012);● Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (June 2012);● Announcements from RCUK, HEFCE, European Commission (July 2012). Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    5. 5. RCUK● Accessibility to publicly-funded research; Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable.● Rigorous quality assurance; Published research outputs must be subject to rigorous quality assurance, through effective peer review mechanisms.● Efficient and cost-effective access mechanisms;● Long-term preservation and accessibility of outputs. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    6. 6. RCUK compliance● Gold with CC-BY Or if the publisher will not offer Gold CC-BY then they must offer:● Green (at least post print) with a maximum embargo period of 12 months (6 for STM journals), and CC-BY-NC. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    7. 7. ChallengesFor institutions and libraries● Who will administer OA grants?;● What about non-UK based journals?For authors and journals● A lot of research undertaken in HSS doesn’t come with funding grants;● Will author-pays OA curtail academic freedom?;● What about independent researchers and those from poorer institutions? Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    8. 8. Pure Open Access journals in HSSDirectory of Open Access Journals: Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    9. 9. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    10. 10. But beware! “Potential, possible or probable predatory OA publishers”: Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    11. 11. Hybrid Open Access● Gold open access within a traditional subscription- based journal e.g.  SAGE Choice;  Wiley OnlineOpen;  Springer Open Choice;  Taylor & Francis Open Select; Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    12. 12. The future? (I)What about current model is worth preserving? • Revenue – few journals operate entirely on subs cash; few would exist without it; • Publishers undertake digital preservation; • Neutral in regards to disciplines/funding levels, funders and universities; • Ordering through pre-publication sifting and journal branding, backed up by hosting/search infrastructure; • Day to day work and investment in publishing technologies done by third party, not academics or university; • No barriers to entry for authors. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    13. 13. The future (II)Alternatives • New university presses? • Self-organisation (Open Journals Systems) • Super-repositories (publish then sift – places burden on reader) Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    14. 14. The future (III)● Way forward: • Depends on collective action; HSS needs to develop position and voice • Greater engagement from key UK players – note STM focus of RCUK, government • Integrate with international developments – what happens in EU, US, etc • All parties likely to undergo change: • Societies weaned off journal revenue • Leaner publishers (service providers) • Journals will die/new OA journals will start up • Lengthy transition likely for HSS Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    15. 15. That’s all folks! Email any tricky questions to: Louise Skelding Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC