Monday, 5 December 2011

On how to run an independent OA journal

I'm very pleased to be able to say that a report on our launch workshop back in October is now available in SAS-Space, along with Steve Whittle and Julian Harris's presentation introducing Amicus Curiae online.
It was a particular pleasure to facilitate one, and then listen to recordings of three other small group discussions on the various issues that face editors of independent OA journals; and these are summarised in the report.

I was particularly interested by the discussion on the use of social media as marketing. We're quite used to Facebook pages and Twitter feeds dedicated to particular publications; and that needs to be part of the work a journal does. However, there was a clear sense that this would not be enough on its own, and that the whole editorial team of a journal, including members of an advisory board (traditionally more detached) would need to bring together the collective weight of all their personal blogging, tweeting and posting to publicise a journal. Looked at this way, a small team of specialists in a field ought to be able to reach their target audience of peers at least as well as a large commercial publisher, especially if they are able to engage with interested specialist librarians.

Another interesting theme that emerged was that the relationship between author and journal would need to change, if that journal were one managed by volunteers without the help of a publisher. Firstly, it would be likely that journals would need to be more robust in requiring authors to conform to house style, and otherwise take back some of the work of copy preparation. Secondly, authors would need to be less reticent about self-promotion. One delegate observed that authors are often reluctant to let their own libraries know about new work, assuming that this was something that librarians and publishers sorted out amongst themselves. Authors would need to be prepared to engage with social media in order to spread the word.

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