There’s a lot happening in the world of scholarly journal publishing just now, and I find it all fascinating. Traditional subscription models, Open Access journals, hybrid journals, gold and green models for Open Access, the Finch Report and subsequent response and discussions, etc.
And things have just turned nasty!
There’s a hard working librarian at University of Colorado Denver called Jeffrey Beall who maintains Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. There’s carefully prepared criteria for determining entries on the list. I’ve found the list very useful when trying to assess Open Access journals. I don’t think that anyone in their right mind would question Beall’s motives or integrity, yet LISNews now reports Listed Predatory Publishers Fight Back, with Criminal Impersonation. More on this here. I won’t give any more details on what is clearly a smear campaign.
Then there’s what’s happening on the Liblicense listserv. Prof Stevan Harnad has sunk his teeth into the Social Sciences Directory (SSD) and the fact that the University of Nottingham has taken up an institutional membership with it.
Prof Harnad doesn’t seem to like the fact that the editors of SSD are a former publisher and a librarian (rather than researchers), or that this start-up publication has only published five papers so far.
Sandy Thatcher has joined the discussion. He seems concerned that there may only be about 100 reviewers for the journal, and he doesn’t like the phrase ‘registered reviewers’ which was used by Dan Scott, the SSD Contact.
I don’t know whether the SSD will prove to be a success in the long term or not, but their institutional membership business model is certainly an interesting idea, and well done the University of Nottingham for testing the waters. SSD has a presence on Facebook and Twitter and is a member of OASPA, and their website is impressiveley clear and well organised.
I wish I could say the same thing about the Penn State University Press journals website (according to this page, Sandy Thatcher was Director, Penn State University Press, 1989-2009 – which is the only reason I’m using Penn State University Press as an example here, rather than some of the other publishers I’ve mentioned in the past). When you click on a ‘learn more’ page, e.g. this one, or this one, or this one, and then click on the links to ‘Our journals are available electronically through JSTOR‘, all you currently get is:
The link from The Edgar Allan Poe Review to “and Project MUSE” goes to a Johns Hopkins University Press page, where The Edgar Allan Poe Review is not listed (this is because The Edgar Allan Poe Review is a forthcoming title, I eventually realised). And I can’t find, as stated, any way to “Sign up for eTOCs” to some of the journals from the links provided – this is also probably because several of them are forthcoming titles.