Northern Illinois University

Scholarly Communication at NIU

books and computer keyboard

Alternative Models of Publishing

Alternative models of publishing—The last decade has witnessed an efflorescence of new modes of publication and dissemination of research.  This section offers analysis and explanation of these activities, and highlights a number of the major players.

Peter Suber’s Brief Introduction to Open Access
In this one page article, Peter Suber makes clear the meaning of open access. It is a good piece for those that are not familiar with the topic.  The author also provides a link to his “Open Access Overview”, a document that gives a more extensive overview. Peter Suber is Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College; Senior Researcher, SPARC; and Open Access Project Director, Public Knowledge.

John Bateman, 'The Access Principle: the case for open access to research and scholarship, John Willinsky (2006).' Linguistics and Human Sciences, vol 2.1 2006 165–168.
This review of the aforementioned book by John Willinsky presents a four-page summary of the things researchers need to know about the state of scholarly publishing. While it is advisable to read the book, this review itself discusses many of the problems and their possible solutions. John Bateman is a professor with the English Department, University of Bremen, Germany.

Alma Swan, 'Open Access and the Progress of Science: The power to transform research communication may be at each scientist's fingertips.' American Scientist, vol 95.3 2007 198-200.
By starting with this statement: "If we could start now, equipped with the World Wide Web, computers in every laboratory or institution and a global view of the scientific research effort, would we come up with the system for communicating knowledge that we have today?" the author makes a compelling argument for researchers to consider alternative models for publishing. Dr. Swan holds a PhD in cell biology from Southampton University, and she is a consultant in the area of scholarly communication.

Anderson, Ivy. 'The Audacity of SCOAP3.' ARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, no. 257 (2008): 12-13.
In this short report from the ARL Office of Scholarly Communication a new model of scholarly communication is introduced. SCOAP3 ( Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) is a project that involves libraries, library consortia, research institutions and publishers for the purpose of controlling cost and expanding the dissemination of their journals.

Patrick Gaule and Nicolas Maystre, “Getting Cited: Does Open Access Help?” Cemi-Working Paper, November 2008.
Often researchers question if articles published by open access publications are considered by their peers of scholarly value. In part, this can be examined by looking at the citation patterns of articles published in restricted access journals with those published in open access journals. This paper offers an interesting discussion of the perceived scholarly value of open access articles and it summarizes several studies previously done. The results of this study suggest that no significant effect of citation patterns were observed among the two types of journals, which implies that, at least in some fields, open access journals are well regarded.

Examples of alternative publishing platforms

  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
    DOAJ provides access to open access journals, those publications that do not charge readers, authors or their institutions for access. They must also have a peer-review process or an editorial body that control the quality of the articles to be included. The journals included in this directory are serial publications that intend to be published at regular intervals, and should have an ISSN. Their primary purpose should be to report the findings of research to a scholarly community. At present, there are 3,768 titles and 240,017 articles included. In addition to keyword searching, the directory can be browsed by title or by subject. There are 17 major subjects, each expanded into sub-topics. The section on Links offers numerous documents and websites related to open access. DOAJ is produced at Lund University Libraries, Lund, Sweden.
  • PLOS (Public Library of Science)
    PLoS is a grassroots organization with the vision of developing an open access library for the sciences. It has started with the initial focus of publishing high quality research journals in the life sciences. Under the business model created, the cost of publishing these journals is recovered by charging a fee to authors or their institutions. All articles are available free of charge and authors retain ownership of their copyrights.  At present, seven journals are published: PLoS Biology, PLoS Medicine, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Pathogens,  PLoS ONE, and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
    PubMed Central is a free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journals maintained by the National Institutes of Health. This collection now has several hundred titles.  These journals deposit their content on PubMed Central on a regular basis and make it freely available. Some journals have imposed embargoes on current issues.
    BioMed Central is an open access self-sustainable model for the publication of biological and medical research. All research articles are open access, but certain portions of the journal (for instance, reviews or reports) require a subscription. Institutional membership or payment per article by authors cover the cost of publication.  There are nearly 200 journals available. BioMed Central journals are archived in PubMed Central.
  • BioOne
    BioOne is a collaborative publishing business model between scientific societies, libraries, academe, and the private sector to make available full-text peer-reviewed journals produced mainly by not-for-profit organizations at a reasonable competitive cost. It offers an aggregation of high quality bioscience research journals. Subscription is based on the Carnegie Basic Classification; institutions can subscribe to two packages: BioOne.1 and BioOne.2 which include a total of 155 journals from 117 societies and other research groups. 66% of BioOne titles are ranked by the Web of Science Citation Indexes. There are also ten BioOne Open Access titles released from five different publishers.
  • Highwire
    HighWire Press was created in 1995 with the purpose of producing high-impact, peer-reviewed journals from scientific organizations. Most of their titles are in the field of biomedicine and other related disciplines. Journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, PNAS and JAMA are produced by this publisher. Institutions with a paid subscription have access to 1,189 journals and over five million full-text articles. With a free account, libraries can access more than two million free full-text science articles. HighWire Press is considered to be a publisher with the largest archive of free life science information. It is a division of the Stanford University Libraries.
  • Project Euclid
    Project Euclid is a joint effort of low-cost independent and society journals in the field of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics. Therefore, they have a commitment to provide scholarly journals at low subscription prices. Contributing publishers to this project control their own publications. The total number of journals is 53; they offer three paid subscription choices, an open access package with 17 titles is also available. Project Euclid is jointly managed by Cornell University and the Duke University Press.
  • J-STOR
    JSTOR has three major objectives: preserve scholarship, expand access to scholarship and other materials, and reduce costs for educational institutions. It is an archival initiative of non-current issues of high-quality, scholar journals. At present, it contains over one thousand titles from the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. It is a subscription-based service that provides, at reasonable cost, a significant amount of academic level publications. Many of the titles go back to their first volume. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization.
  • Project Muse
    MUSE is a collaboration between the participating publishers and Johns Hopkins University Libraries. It provides complete full-text coverage of high-quality scholarly humanities and social sciences journals. Through this collaboration, MUSE provides access to nearly 150,000 articles from over 400 titles, representing nearly 100 not-for-profit publishers. It is a subscription-based service with affordable and user-friendly online access.
  • Open Access Works by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.
    This webpage is part of the Digital Scholarship site. There are eight documents covering the following topics: What Is Open Access? Open Access and Libraries, The Role of Reference Librarians in Institutional Repositories, Open Access Bibliography, Open Access Webliography,
    Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit, Institutional Repositories, Tout de Suite, and DigitalKoans and SEPB. These documents provide a good overview to administrators, faculty, and researchers of some of the major topics related to scholarly communication. The producer, Charles W. Bailey, Jr. is a well-known academic librarian with great passion for, and lot of experience in, information technology.