A Personal Open Access Plan

Watching the momentum swirl in academia in response to RWA and the increasing verbal acknowledgement by faculty that the closed access publishing system isn’t working has been exciting.  I’ve talked to a number of students and faculty who are very interested in what’s happening. The students, particularly, are horrified at the status quo (whether their horror outlasts their need to publish in the future remains to be seen).

Thinking about this and the efforts at Cost of Knowledge and the blog posts of very smart colleagues, an idea started forming in my head that I wanted to share with you–mostly to keep myself accountable, partially so I can give you updates as it happens, and finally so I think through this a little more.

I am making a public commitment to try to get tenure at UIC only publishing in Open Access journals.

Why is this scary? I’m at a R1 institution and a huge portion of my tenure evaluation is my ability to publish. I’m absolutely in a publish or perish situation for the next four years and that’s a big red flashing deadline at the top of the really long to do list.

What are the opportunities? There are a number of new(er) peer reviewed OA journals in the library field that will be good fits for me. Most of the ALA Journals have gone OA. I have friends and colleagues who have expressed interest in writing with me and who think finding an OA journal sounds fantastic.

Who is with me?  In addition to those potential coauthors, I have other friends and colleagues who are cheering me on from the sidelines.  The faculty at my library approved an Open Access Policy (not linked on our website yet) that I’ve mentioned before.

What might be potential barriers?  Time–I’m up against an unforgiving clock and my department has lost 1.75 FT people since September. Coauthors. Colleagues. Projects I don’t know about yet.

But now is a good time for this.  Five years ago, my publishing options would have been limited and this would have been much harder.  Newer journals have emerged and I think we’ll see their traditional impact factor as well as alt-metric power rise as people make use of freely available information. And I’d much rather give OA journals what few hours I do have to edit and review (speaking of which, who needs help?).

I haven’t looked through all of our tenured/tenure track faculty, but I think this will be a first for my library.

What all of this will mean, how it will shake down, where we go from here remains to be seen. I can’t begin to predict everything that’s going to happen in the next few years. I go forward, however, with this commitment.

16 Comments