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
- 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.
(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.)