Open Access Pledge

Open Access logo from PLoS, in the public domainOkay, so Barbara Fister linked to me from her spectacular Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed, listing me as one of many pre-tenure librarians who’d signed the Elsevier boycott at The Cost of Knowledge.  While it’s certainly true that I’ve signed the boycott, what I haven’t done — yet — is make a larger pledge about my scholarly work and open access.  Barbara’s link challenged me to put my money (and my tenure bid) where my mouth is, so here goes:

Starting now, I will not submit any single-authored work to a journal that doesn’t allow some form of open access.

Now, I’m hedging my bets a bit here, because I’m currently collaborating with several nursing faculty on an article, which we intend to submit to a nursing education journal, and the options for open access in that discipline are…well, virtually non-existent. I’m not the lead author on that piece, and I don’t feel comfortable pressuring them to take a stand that they perhaps don’t feel safe taking.  But by gum, if whatever journal we choose allows any degree of self-archiving, that puppy is gonna get deposited.

In addition, I will not serve on an editorial board or review articles for journals that don’t allow some degree of open access. As my phone is not exactly ringing off the hook with requests for these services, that’s a pretty easy pledge to make, though.

I’m fortunate that for all of my previous work, both in the library literature and in the discipline of music theory, I was able to interpret my copyright transfer agreements such that I can self-archive either the final version or a pre-print on my own web page, which I did for Open Access Week back in 2010.  But moving forward, I’m going to make sure that I’m not just fortunate but deliberate in my publishing choices.  Because it is a choice, one that we as scholars usually think of in terms of prestige; we need to start thinking of our choices as exercising our power in the marketplace.

And hats off to my colleagues Abigail Goben, Jason Puckett, Amy Buckland, and the others Barbara mentions in her blog post, who have similarly pledged to keep their work open to the public.

So how about you?


  1. Barbara
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I didn’t mean to make you burn the midnight oil to blog about this! But I’m glad you did – the coauthor piece is a fascinating wrinkle and both a complication (I mean, the kind of collaboration you’re engaging in is exactly what we SHOULD do, but then we’re operating in a different disciplinary culture) and a teaching opportunity. So many scholar/authors don’t know another world is possible.

  2. Catherine
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry, Barbara – no midnight oil was burnt in the writing of this blog post. (We here at Spurious Tuples strive for carbon-neutral blogging.) I threw the post together this morning instead of doing actual work.

    And yes, the co-author issue is sticky. I know that I should be pushing my nursing colleagues to think about these issues, but they all seem so terribly frightened of the tenure process just to begin with, that I hate to pile onto their anxiety.

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  1. By RUSQ, Open Access, and Me – Spurious Tuples on May 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

    […] you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’ve made a public pledge that any solo-authored work that I publish will be available through some form of open access: […]