Rowland Lorimer, Director, Master of Publishing Program and Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, Simon Fraser University
Sunday May 25
14:45 to 16:15
Schmon Tower Boardroom 13th Floor
It would be difficult to find a Canadian researcher in the humanities and social sciences who would not agree to having his or her work openly accessible to the world. The principle, whether you call it freedom of information or open access, is very much in keeping with public education, public funding for research, and the public interest.
The nobility of this principle has led to a worldwide embrace of open access especially in such areas as health research and physics. In pursuit of open access in the world of science where research grants are de rigeur, instead of libraries paying onerous subscription fees to journals, researchers are being requested to pay author fees, fees for the privilege of being published. Their reward, as we all know, is promotion, tenure, salary increases, and more research grants. They are also strongly encouraged to pursue open access by the policies of research funding agencies such as the National Institutes for Health, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Wellcome Trust, and by policies of EU research funding.
However, the application of the principle of open access to humanities and social science research is problematic. SSH scholars write many articles without benefit of research grants so author fees are just another hurdle that stands in the way of publishing. As opposed to highly profitable science journals, many SSH journals operate on a shoestring so they have little ability to weather an open access-derived downturn in income. They are already suffering from the claim by universities that the purchase of one copy provides access to entire classes in the name of education as fair dealing.
Luckily, the journals, the library community, the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) are aware of the vulnerability of Canadian SSH journals and they have been working to find a way of ensuring that publishing opportunities don’t dry up for Canadian humanists and social scientists. Come and listen to the plans and participate in the discussion of the issues.