ASCUS about open communication access

The Academic Serials in Communication Unified System is a proposal from the folks at the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship who are trying to develop a new subscription-based not-for-profit full-text online index of communication journals. It’s not open access, but it is the right direction. And as the proposal stands, subscriptions will not be required for those accessing from institutions in lesser developed countries. ASCUS has just announced that it has partnered with SPARC, a move that should improve the reach and viability of the project.

The timing on this is important. This summer EBSCO started offering a database with full text from communication journals for $8,000 annually. Given the cost of journals lately, especially in the sciences, this is a steal. On the other hand, why is it that academics are lining the pockets of publishers, while not profiting from their own publications? It makes a lot more sense to do this in an environment in which profit is not the motive. To be able to do that successfully, though, the project will need to have the same kind of coverage as the for-profit effort, and that will be difficult to attain.

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One Comment

  1. Swampthing
    Posted 10/7/2004 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    The profit-motive and greed of publishers is obvious. But we should consider that academia, in a sense, has created this “journal culture,” where publishers as a can increase their subscription prices 50-100% per year!

    Publish or perish… but only publish in certain journals. Thus, the “good” research is limited to these journals. As a researcher and/or faculty member, you want/need your university library to own or have access to these “good” journals regardless of the cost. The publishers know this amd have capitalized on it.

    If the journal culture is going to change, it must begin on the demand side of the equation.

    The CIOS effort and others like it are a good start.

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