Talking open in closed journals

Sep 24 2010 Published by under Open Access

Open-access advocates of all stripes—researchers, librarians, publishers, consultants—are in my experience voracious readers on open access. I fit the profile, but I know people who read even more than I do, approaching "everything."

One practical result of all this reading is that every single one of us—me included—has wanted to read an article on open-access that was published in a journal that we don't have access to. And almost every time, we grumble about the irony.

Here's the thing, though. If we're going to maximize the reach of our message, we're going to have to put up with that particular irony. I don't like that academics have tunnel vision either, but they do—which means publishing in enemy outlets.

Do we need to call it out every time? Only if we care to annoy and antagonize by looking incurably smug. I suggest instead that we mourn our missing access. That, after all, is the actual problem. Irony isn't.

7 responses so far

  • Jenny reiswig says:

    Oops I thought the proper academic response was to get someone to share their PDF with me in violation of their TOS. 😉

    • Dorothea says:

      I refuse to comment on the grounds that I may incriminate myself. *g*

      (Actually, I try to use ILL. Wish it was easier.)

  • For an example, see Ted Striphas' publishing his paper "Acknowledged Goods: Cultural Studies and the Politics of Academic Journal Publishing" in a Taylor and Francis journal. (IR version here: )

  • Frank Norman says:

    I totally agree. Back in the early 2000s perhaps it was fine to point up the irony, but it's no longer necessary. Perhaps it's like dead hedgehogs on the road. They say that it is a sign of a good population level rather than something to worry about. OA articles in closed journals means plenty of people are writing about the topic.

  • Kevin Z says:

    I'm glad you bring this up because I am preparing a paper about open access in taxonomy. There are only about 3 appropriate journals it could be submitted to, but I feel it sort of preaching to the choir. There are much more options for publishing in non-OA journals. But I was sort of afraid (annoyed?) by the supposed irony. Maybe it doesn't matter?

    • Dorothea says:

      Consider self-archiving the article once it's accepted for publication. There may not be a sufficiency of gold journals in your area, but there are probably a fair few green ones!