Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Developing Open Access Journals: A Practical Guide

I just got the new book Developing Open Access Journals. A Practical Guide by David J Solomon, PhD. ISBN 9781843343394 on my desk. It is a great work, much needed, and contains a number of useful tips for (low-budget) academic publishers and editors of new OA journals. The book also contains case-studies of 5 successful OA journals, among them the journal I am editing (Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)). Other journals discussed in detail include MEO, JEP, Information Research, and First Monday. It is about time that people (including journalists - who reflexively start discussing PLOS and BMC when writing about Open Access journals) realize that Open Access should also be associated with these smaller, pioneering publishers/journals. And "small" means "small" in terms of a "lean and sustainable" publishing model - not in terms of impact. In fact, JMIR beats all but one Elsevier/Springer etc journals in the field of medical informatics in terms of impact (ranked #2 out of 20 journals).
A few issues should - in my view - perhaps be strengthened in a future edition of the book. These include perhaps more information about indexes, tools, XML, marketing, how to deal with libraries and aggregators (EBSCO, Swets etc.), impact factor (and how to increase impact), and e-commerce. But I also realize that - given the wide spectrum of business models and discipline-specific requirements - these are difficult areas to cover in a single book.
In summary, a great book, and a much needed template for "best practices" in this field (see this blog entry and comments).
Too bad that the book itself is not openly accessible. I personally think that this kind of work (and further guidelines/best practices, perhaps focussed on specific fields such as medicine?) should be solicited / paid for and made accessible by foundations who have an interest in fostering Open Access.

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