25:1 (2010:03) Committee Updates: Proceedings Open Access Task Force

March 29, 2010 at 1:29 am | Posted in Proceedings | Leave a comment

Proceedings Open Access Task Force
Carol Ann Borchert, Char Simser, David Bynog


The task force met a few times by phone and used Google Docs as a workspace for sharing and editing documents.  We considered the functions that Haworth was previously performing for us as our publisher and created a list of possible pros and cons of open access publishing.  Next, we created a list of 15 questions to ask potential open access publishers for the NASIG annual conference Proceedings.

Six publishers were selected:

  • Co-Action Publishers
  • New Prairie Press (Kansas State University)
  • Scholarly Exchange
  • Scholarly Publishing Office (University of Michigan)
  • Texas Digital Library
  • University of South Florida

Of these, five responded to our list of questions.  Texas Digital Library has a note on their site that states:  “To set up a TDL Electronic Journal, you must be a faculty member at a TDL member institution.”

The documents we were working from are reproduced below, and the accompanying spreadsheet (see Appendix 1) compares the 5 publishers.

Functions Haworth was doing for the NASIG Proceedings:

  1. Layout
  2. Publishing, printing, and distribution
  3. Marketing
  4. Single, professional editor ensuring consistency and quality throughout the document (not necessarily the case with T&F)
  5. Publication in an indexed journal
  6. Ability to pull usage statistics from the site?

Pros and cons for open access model for Proceedings:


  1. Setting an example in the serials community for OA publishing
  2. NASIG will have control over the publication process and its timeline
  3. OJS allows us to directly imbed slideshows or video into an article.  This may not be true for all OA publishers.
  4. OJS allows indexing through Google, Yahoo, Google Scholar, “Assessing the Impact of Open Access: Preliminary Findings from Oxford University Press,” (http://www.oxfordjournals.org/news/oa_report.pdf) , etc.
  5. OJS allows a delayed subscription process so articles can initially be members-only.  This may not be true for all OA publishers.
  6. Moving to open access might require additional “editors” to provide support for layout and copyediting functions.  Maybe the Proceedings could be a whole committee, with 2 main co-editors, or editors could consult with ECC.  This might mean additional skill sets from ECC members.
    • Expand or redefine role of Publications/PR Committee?
  7. In a web-based environment, it is easier to correct mistakes if needed.
  8. Editors would no longer need to collect copyright forms from authors.  Do we need a replacement form that outlines who has which rights?


  1. Will lose income from T&F (was $10,000 to $11,000 to do Proceedings with Haworth).
  2. There could be potential costs associated with moving to an open access model.
  3. Might lose professional editorial support; heavier workload for editors
  4. Might require additional NASIG volunteers working in various editorial capacities
    • “the Editorial Process can be conducted by a single Editor or by a team of Editors, Sections Editors, Copyeditors, Layout Editors, and Proofreaders.” (http://newprairiepress.org/journals/index/help/view/editorial/topic/000000)
    • Moving to open access might require additional “editors” to provide support for layout and copyediting functions.  Maybe the Proceedings could be a whole committee, with 2 main co-editors, or editors could consult with ECC.  This might mean additional skill sets from ECC members.   Expand or redefine role of Publications/PR committee?
  5. May have negative effect on viability of The Serials Librarian, a professional publication for serialists (and is this a cause of concern for NASIG).

Questions for Open Access Publishers and Editors

  1. If we decided to keep this as a membership benefit, would it be possible to restrict access to NASIG members for the first 6 months to a year after publication?
  2. Will the Proceedings be indexed, and if so, where?
  3. Who is responsible for layout of the journal?
  4. Are there templates which allow for standardization of article titles, authors, etc.?
  5. Is it possible to provide institutional usage statistics, and if so, who will be providing them and how?
  6. Will there be any editorial support, or will the editorial functions be the sole responsibility of the NASIG editors?
  7. Who provides technical support?
  8. Is there a cost associated with the setup of the journal and who bears that cost?
  9. Who applies for the ISSN?
  10. How are papers submitted, managed, and published?
  11. Can we directly imbed slideshows or video into an article?
  12. How do you handle copyright and indemnification, if at all?  Do you use the Creative Commons License?
  13. Do you provide any level of marketing support and is there a cost associated with that support?
  14. Can we place ads on our journal site if we were to sell them, i.e., corporate sponsorships?
  15. Do you charge author fees?

Additional Comment from Dale Askey, New Prairie Press regarding concerns about increased workload for editors in an OA environment:

I should have added a short addendum to the questions addressing the concern about increased workload.  In my experience, working with commercial publishers tends to increase the workload of publishing a journal, although they would argue the opposite, of course.  Their rules and workflows mean that editors have to dance to their tune and meet their schedules.

With OJS and an open access publisher, editors are free to make their own decisions that suit their needs and availability.  Beyond that, as I mentioned in my replies, OJS is such a detailed system that it takes a lot of the hustle and bustle of creating a journal and turns it into well managed and transparent workflows with reminders and a high degree of transparency.  A lot of guesswork and “metawork”‑‑i.e.‑ time spent emailing back and forth to see who has done what or where something is in the pipeline‑‑simply goes away when one uses such a tool.  In some ways, it is going back to the basics: focusing on publishing high quality content without all of the overhead.


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