May 3, 2012
On Twitter, Rebekah Higgit reacted to David Willetts’ speech on Open Access to research results by asking – well, what about arts and humanities?
In this short post, I would like to outline a couple of practices that I am familiar with from linguistics and psychology that do not require publisher action, but that can be implemented today, by any researcher, unless they’ve signed a particularly stifling publication contract.
- Directly linking to copies of their work on their own web page. This is the most basic version.
- Circulating drafts: Plenty of papers do the rounds in draft form before they are even submitted for peer review. This happened to a paper I worked on which ended up being published in the prestigious journal Language. If you look at the Google Scholar citation page, quite a few citations predate the actual publication. These come from circulated previous drafts.
- E-mail request systems: Many groups working in psychology have an ingenious mechanism for getting around publisher’s restrictions. They set up a central email address whereby you can request a paper, and either a bot or a person monitoring that address will send you a version, either a pre-print as submitted to the publisher for typesetting, or the Authors’ Copy of the typeset version.
- Pure online journals: I’m aware of a few well-regarded online journals in the humanities and social sciences, such as The Qualitative Report and Forum: Qualitative Research.
So, there are a number of ways of enabling Open Access now – let’s hope Willetts’ team manages to negotiate a model that allows more genuine open access for all branches of learning.