Thursday, 7 March 2013

Open Access

Open Access is all in vogue now and I have suddenly acknowledged that I am actually an Editor-in-Chief of an open access series. Not that I have been thinking the Monographs of the Archaeological Society of Finland first and foremost as an open access publication. Actually, web presence is a way to allow producing peer-reviewed publications in a convenient format. The learned society and their umbrella organisation provide the storage space on a server, which is a saving in comparison with a full hard copy publication.

In his keynote speech in CAA UK 2013 Mark Lane discussed the issue of affordability of open access publications. Some do ask the authors to pay a fee instead of asking for libraries and users to pay for subscriptions as the traditional, prestigious publications do. The price of these subscriptions has gone through the roof and many libraries are ‘rationalising’ their orders. Even an institution such as the University of Cambridge has dropped – or at least has tried to drop – overlapping subscriptions from the University Library if these are provided by a departmental or faculty library.

The business plan is in the core. Our business plan is traditional, since all the editors, members of the editorial board and peer reviewers do the volumes in the academic fashion – for free. Or more precisely, all activity is subsidised by their proper job or other income. Nevertheless, this is how different publications work anyway. Very few apart from the most prestigious ones have paid part-time editors or editorial assistants or secretaries. Actually, discussing the publications as open access makes the existing practices transparent. Basically, additional value is created through voluntary work.

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