Longwoods Press rolls out Open Access policy

Longwoods Press, publisher of Healthcare Quarterly/Longwoods Review , Nursing Leadership (CJNL) , Healthcare Policy / Politiques de Santé , World Health & Population now has an OA publishing option. I guess this is a super-soft launch of the policy, as there’s no note of it on their homepage, and the only people who seem to know about it are the authors who are getting the new License to Publish forms with the pay-for-OA option included.

Here’s the Open Access Policy page so you can see for yourself. Some would argue that this is technically a FREE access policy, not a true OPEN access policy. And they’d be right in that argument. Fee for the authors who chose the “OA” option is currently set at $2500 (USD/CAD your choice) per article.

My quick thoughts

Yay for:

  • Creating a policy! Canadian niche journals are clearly struggling to keep up in the online publishing world, and this is a step that could help keep some of them in business (of course, with the new CIHR policy, and CIHR being a sponsor of Longwoods, I suppose one could argue that they could hardly drag their feet any longer…)
  • Waiving the author charges for authors from a list of developing nations. I don’t know how many articles most of the Longwoods journals get from such countries, but it’s a nice gesture.

A kick in the shins for:

  • Not making an exception to the publishing fees for authors who are unaffiliated or have other ground for appeal. This really sucks, guys, and is dumb since you have major competitors (think Open Medicine) who publish OA without any fees to anyone.
  • Keeping a pretty tight grip on copyright even if the author pays for OA, rather than letting the authors retain most rights or publishing it under a creative commons license.
  • Restricting even “Green” (author’s final copy/Post-print) archiving to a 12-month embargo unless the author pays the $2500 fee. This basically means any authors reporting on CIHR-funded research have to pay the $2500 fee, since they have to make peer-reviewed articles available within 6 months. I would guess that a majority of the authors of many if not all of Longwoods’ journals are CIHR-funded researchers. Do you think this was oversight in the open “choice” policy, or an attempt at income insurance?

Overall, I’m glad there is a policy out there. It keeps the Longwoods journals (a primary venue for Canadian health policy research – important unless we want USAmerican moaning about how allegedly awful our health care system is to be even more dominant) potentially viable in the scholarly publishing world, and provides a starting point for future revisions of the policy. It may spur other small Canadian publishers to develop OA policies as well.

However, I can’t tell how much of the dithering (e.g., “In the current funding climate, where many authors may not be able to cover the full costs of publication, a model that utilizes a mixture of funding sources (publication charges, subscriptions, advertising, etc) is more realistic.”) and oddities (e.g., non-OA articles will still be issued in print form as well as online, OA articles will be electronic-only) in the Longwoods policy are due to nervousness and how much of all that is due to plain old greed and wanting to dip into as many funding streams as possible.

I am pleased with the press for making a move here, and hope that in a year or so they’ll revise the policy to bring it a bit more into line with OA norms.

-Greyson

(Disclosure: Several of my colleagues have written and/or reviewed articles for some Longwoods journals. Some of them serve or have served on editorial advisory boards of Longwoods journal.)

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Longwoods Press rolls out Open Access policy

  1. Pingback: medicine » Blog Archive » Longwoods Press rolls out Open Access policy

  2. I was curious to see how many of the research reports in the current issues of some Longwoods journals included acknowledgements of operating grant support from CIHR. The current issue of Nursing Leadership (Vol. 20, No. 4, 2007) contains 3 Nursing Research articles. However, I could only access the abstracts via the website of the University of Toronto Libraries, so I couldn’t look at the Acknowledgements. The current issue of Heathcare Policy (Vol. 3, No. 2, 2007) contains 5 Research Papers. None acknowledged operating grant support from CIHR. Of all of the articles in the current issue of Healthcare Quarterly (Vol. 10, No. 4, 2007), only one acknowledged support from a CIHR operating grant. So, in this small sample of 3 current Longwoods journals, only one article acknowledged operating grant support from CIHR.

  3. greyson

    That’s really interesting, Jim – thanks for your note. I wonder if I have been too grandiose in my estimate of the portion of Longwoods authors who are CIHR supported. I’ll have to look into that next week, as I’m surprised the number in the current issues you looked at was so low.

    The journals themselves are partially CIHR supported (through the partnership program perhaps?), which brings up some interesting research access policy questions, I think.

    If CIHR believes that the work they are funding should be freely accessible to Canadian taxpayers, what does that mean for the publishing projects they are supporting? Is the impetus only on Canadian authors to provide access, or are publishers also a part of this equation? Will we perhaps someday see research access guidelines for publishers who partner with CIHR?

  4. Greyson, I know that SSHRC has a research journals support program. I wasn’t aware that CIHR has any such program.

  5. greyson

    If anyone would know, I assume you would, Jim! You likely also have more information/insight into the CIHR’s support of journals (such as those published by Longwoods) than most of us do.

    I didn’t intend to imply that CIHR currently has any sort of policy or incentive program for journals to publish OA or allow authors to self-archive. As far as I know that is not the case (although the SSHRC model is intriguing).

    What I do intend to imply is that the current CIHR policy, as I understand it, puts all the responsibility on the authors to provide access to their research outputs, and little/none on the Canadian health journals that are another partner in the publishing/KT process.

    This makes sense on one level – the work is property of the authors unless/until they give away the rights – but if journals are also receiving support from CIHR (with stated goals of public research access), should those journals not be subject to some sort of OA policy as well? Will CIHR continue to subsidize journals which, for example, refuse to freely grant authors the right to self-archive within the 6 months stipulated by the CIHR policy for research grant recipients?

    If Canadian health journals do not make it easy/possible for CIHR-funded researchers to comply with their funder’s OA policy, those journals risk being passed over in the article submission process. If they try to charge for the right to self-archive in compliance with funder policy, CIHR may wish to question to what extent they want to continue to subsidize the journal “from both sides” (as KT in the author’s grant, and as direct support to the journal).

    I think it’s deeply important for us to continue to have independent Canadian journals, particularly in health policy where our concerns are often quite different from those in the US. And I am aware that sometimes entities may need a bit of a nudge in order to evolve. As always, those that do not evolve may eventually become obsolete/extinct, as increasing numbers of authors elect to go with options that allow them to easily uphold their obligations to their funding bodies and the public.

  6. Is there information somewhere on the Longwoods website about direct support provided to their journals by CIHR? If there is, I couldn’t find it. If CIHR has a program to provide direct support to any journals of any kind, I don’t know about it.

  7. A supplement to my previous message. I’ve just found the relevant page (last modified on March 15, 2006) at the CIHR website. It’s entitled: “Healthcare Policy journal”. See: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/30743.html

    Excerpt: “Healthcare Policy … is the product of a partnership between IHSPR, the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) and Longwoods Publishing“.

    IHSPR is the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research of CIHR. So, this partnership is with one of the 13 “virtual” Institutes of the CIHR. The individual Institutes of CIHR have some funds that they can use to support a few high-priority initiatives of their own. The IHSPR has chosen to give a high priority to support for this particular partnership.

    So, this is an unusual situation, where a particular journal is being supported via a partnership with one of the Institutes of CIHR. If there are any other such partnerships with other Institutes of CIHR, I’m not aware of them.

  8. greyson

    I’d heard a genesis story for Healthcare Policy – I wonder if this is the only Longwoods journal supported by CIHR? (I should write to Longwoods and ask at this point, clearly!)

    On this page: http://www.longwoods.com/pages.php?pageid=56
    There’s a vague statement that:
    “Longwoods recognizes the support of our partners. They make it possible for us to explore ideas, provide information, share best practices and so enable excellence. ”
    followed by a list of many different partners, including:
    CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
    CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health
    CIHR Institute of Aging
    CIHR Institute of Cancer Research
    CIHR Institute of Gender and Health
    CIHR Institute of Genetics
    CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity
    CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
    CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
    CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

    It is certainly possible that not all this “support” is financial, and/or that it all relates to one journal. To be redundant, I should really just go ask someone at the Press what “partners” means.

  9. A contact at CIHR has informed me that the Institutes of CIHR were canvassed on behalf of the ISPHR, at the time that the Healthcare Policy journal was being established, and that some made a contribution. (Perhaps as little as a couple of thousand dollars?).

    It seems likely that only the ISPHR has an ongoing commitment to the “partnership”, and that Healthcare Policy is the only journal being supported by this particular “partnership”.

  10. greyson

    That makes sense.

  11. Pingback: Assessing health services research journals « Be openly accessible or be obscure

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