One LIS journal editor’s approach to encouraging Open Access

The Green Open Access Working Group now has 29 volunteers encouraging self-deposit of articles from 43 LIS journals. I’m one of these volunteers.

Recently, I reached out to the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Web Librarianship, Hannah Gascho Rempel, to ask for her support in emailing her journal’s authors, encouraging them to self-archive their work in an open access repository.

Hannah responded enthusiastically and thoughtfully, explaining that she encourages all her authors to self-deposit as part of the official journal editorial process. Here’s how.

Hannah shared that since she became Editor-in-Chief at the JWL two years ago, each accepted manuscript receives the following recommendation as part of the acceptance email:

I have attached the final accepted version of the manuscript. If you have an institutional repository, see this link for how to attribute the publisher when or if you post this version of your accepted work (which I encourage you to do):

Hannah reports that thanks to that message (as well as a more general shift in OA trends), 42% of Journal of Web Librarianship articles from 2014-2016 are now made open access through self-deposit–up from 20% from 2011-2013.

For journals like Hannah’s, where flipping to a fully Gold OA model isn’t currently an option, editorial support in the way of a small acceptance workflow tweak can make a big difference in opening up the literature. That’s why the Green Open Access Working Group’s volunteers are reaching out to journal editors to encourage such practices.

Author-side nudges toward open access are important as well. As Beth Blakesley, editor of Journal of Academic Librarianship, reports via email, there’s still a surprising lack of knowledge among LIS authors as to their own self-deposit rights:

I’ve been contacted by several people shortly after they’ve signed their agreements asking about whether they can put the their articles in their IRs.  I’ve also had a lot of questions asking for a clarification on what version can be used in an IR.  This always gives me pause, because we are making so much of the need for academic librarians to play a role in scholarly communication endeavors, but we may not be as well equipped as we should be.

By working to encourage openness from both angles, alongside supportive journal editors and receptive authors, the Library Pipeline Green OA Working Group is hopeful that our pilot will help increase ongoing access to the LIS literature. More to come on the success of our efforts, soon.