Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Online Peer-Reviewed Journals

Interesting article in today's inside Higher Ed:  Abandoning Print, Not Peer Review, by Scott Jaschik

There are hundreds of scholarly journals published online, plenty of them free. But what makes Museum Anthropology Review’s launch notable is that it is being led by the same editor as the traditional journal, Museum Anthropology, using the exact same peer review system. For years, the criticism of the free, online model has been that it would be impossible for it to replicate the quality control offered by traditional publishing. When online journal publishers have boasted of their quality control, print loyalists have said, in effect, “well maybe it’s good, but it can’t be as good as what we’re doing.”

To this subjective criticism, open access advocates can now point to someone who knows exactly what the standards are at both journals, as he’s leading them both. And while the professor has set up the journal with his own university library, this project isn’t focused on one university’s scholarship, but the best articles in the field — again, precisely the model that makes the best journals vital to scholars. ...

It’s certainly possible that other models may emerge, but many experts are pointing to the “university as publisher” model that Indiana’s library is now assuming (as opposed to a university press or for-profit publisher playing the role) as key. Just Wednesday, for example, the Center for Studies in Higher Education, of the University of California at Berkeley, released a report on the topic, based on conference discussions exploring how to handle the economic and quality control issues, among others.

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