This week the debate over "gold" open access in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) was given further attention in the Times Higher Education's cover story. The article featured interview material with OLH Academic Project Directors Dr Martin Paul Eve and Dr Caroline Edwards, as well as an inset feature on the Open Library of Humanities.
As Paul Jump writes:
Modelled on the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals, although not formally connected to them, the Open Library of Humanities aims to establish its prestige – and confirm the rigour of its peer review – by recruiting "big names" on to its editorial board.
Eve, who a year ago established the small open-access journal Alluvium with Edwards, says one sure-fire way to boost interest in signing up to its various boards will be to raise significant sums of money.
To this end, the journal is working with contacts in California's Stanford area – including PLoS – to access between $1 million (£633,000) and $1.5 million in start-up funding. The duo also hope to convince institutions that regard the project as worthwhile to contribute smaller sums so that article fees can be kept to a minimum. "A base requirement is that those who can't afford the fee will have it waived," Eve says. A number of governing committees for the journal have already been formed, including the all-important academic steering and advocacy committee, "where academics will come in and tell us what they want".
A decision has already been taken to offer a PLoS-style facility for online comments on papers and article-level metrics, although Eve emphasises that such innovations will be phased in gradually to avoid delivering too much of a "culture shock". He also hopes the journal will eventually expand into the social sciences.
Edwards says the "groundswell of support" for Open Library makes her confident of being able to launch within a year. "Groups affiliated with some of the Ivy League universities are looking to invest long term in what they see as the future of academic research and publishing, and that is already happening in the sciences," she says. "The question is why it hasn't already happened in the humanities…It feels like the time is right."
For the full article, see the Times Higher Education's website.
Image by Joan M. Mas under a CC BY-NC license.