1st January 2012 was the launch date for the Journal of the Association for learning technologies learned academic journal to transfer from the more traditional publishing model to an open access model.
So what I hear you say, publishing is publishing same old…. I beg to differ.
To my mind the move to open access, online publishing offers significant benefits in academic publishing and is bringing significant change to the publishing industry.
The new journal website provides a list of benefits describing why we think the new model works, in this piece I take these “features” and elaborate the ideas further to explain why ALT took the decision to change its publishing model.
Open Access – Research in Learning Technology is free from all access barriers, allowing for global dissemination of your work. Well not quite, you will still require some sort of web reader, however when compared traditional publishing, requiring subscription payments and a limited circulation, there is no contest.
Indexing – once published, your article will be comprehensively indexed in the foremost international databases. The ease with which content can be indexed and searched widens its potential audience.
Online submission – simply click on the ‘Submit Manuscript’ button, register yourself as an author, submit your paper and follow its progression. Again removing barriers of cost and time. The introduction of workflow with automated responses removes all those lost in the post issues and will encourage international collaboration
Free to publish – Currently there are no article submission or article processing fees. ALT intends to keep this the case with the sole criteria for selection being the quality and suitability of the content that is submitted.
Supplementary material – you may add data sets, protocols, videos,
interactive files, etc. to your paper – at no cost. This is a critical feature. Sharing data and or providing readers with a video of an author giving a talk creates opportunities both for collaboration and for elaboration both of which are likely to make research better and more useful.
Author retains copyright – you are free to disseminate your work, make
unlimited copies, and deposit it in any repository. Under most traditional publishing agreements this is not the case, often to the detriment of a main goal of the author, which is the widest possible dissemination of their research!
Rapid publication process – upon acceptance of your article, you can
expect your work to be online within 3-4 weeks. Traditional publishing models can take up to 18 months from submission to publication, in a field such as learning technology this represents a barrier to progress.
Post-publication statistics – you can continue to login to the website after publication and check the number of full-text views your paper is receiving. This ability to gain insight into readership and impact on a regular basis as a core function of the system can only provide valuable feedback to authors over time,
ALT’s move to Open Access publishing model was not made lightly, and over the next two to three years ALT will learn if the move was a good one or not. Some thought, care and attention has been given to the editorial processes that support quality. The underlying peer review processes that contribute to the quality of the journal remain unchanged; the journal continues to be available in print, with copies deposited in the Legal Deposit Libraries; and all articles will continue to have a DOI reference (the online equivalent to an ISBN) so as to support citation.
Are there issues and risks, of course, the loss of a revenue stream for the association from Journal subscriptions – issues around permanence and citation – will the reputation of the journal be affected. These are a few of the top line risks, however it feels like the technology is now sufficiently mature for the benefits to be worth the risk.
Did I mention that all previous content is now also available on line for free. So happy new year to you all, consider this to be a new year minor revolution.
How ALT went about tendering for the service is described here at http://repository.alt.ac.uk/8
The new journal site is found here <http://www.researchinlearning
In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I am a Trustee of ALT and chair of its publication committee.