Recent Scholarship about Open Access Publishing

Open Access Cake

ProfHacker has a long-standing interest in open-access topics–see, for example, my earlier post on Open Access Week, or Ethan’s posts (one, two) on open courseware strategies. Formally, we’ve taken various steps to make sure that the blog’s content will always be freely available and shareable. Generally speaking, we prefer a vision of scholarship and scholarly communication that’s unencumbered by (often exorbitant) fees and other forms of gatekeeping.

Last week was of particular interest, then, on the open access scholarship front. BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow linked to James M. Donovan and Carol A. Watson’s paper documenting a “Citation Advantage of Open Access Legal Scholarship.” Doctorow emphasized the paper’s principal finding, which is that open-access legal scholarship has a 50% citation advantage when compared to restricted articles at the same venue. The paper’s worth reading in full, because, as Donovan and Watson emphasize, this finding is odder than it may seem: Thanks to Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis, most law faculty already have full-text access to virtually all legal scholarship–including the ostensibly embargoed material in these journals. Further, while open access scholarship enjoys a citation advantage when it comes to legal scholarship, that advantage does not appear to carry over into citations by courts.

Also last week (and closer to ProfHacker’s institutional heart), Dan Cohen recommended Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Katherine Rowe’s recent article, “Keywords for Open Peer Review,” which uses Shakespeare Quarterly‘s recent MediaCommons Press-powered experiment with open peer review (Chronicle coverage) to propose a framework for wider discussion and implementation of its principles. Fitzpatrick and Rowe’s article is clear-eyed about the care and work that needs to be taken to embark on such a process, though they ultimately conclude that it can “encourage greater thoughtfulness, greater generosity, and greater helpfulness in our approaches to reviewing one another’s work.” Relatedly, Kathleen also re-published an article from 2010, “On Open Access Publishing,” to rescue a prior version from the spambots. Finally, this gives me a chance to link again to Lisa Klarr’s thoughtful interview with Kathleen for HASTAC.

Do you pursue open access venues for publication? Why / why not? Let us know in comments!

Photo of yummy open access cake by Flickr user Paul Stainthorp / Creative Commons licensed

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