Monday, September 26, 2016

Publication Models Changing as Time Goes On

In my career I have been both an editor for chiropractic science journals and author who has published in them. And since we are now in the world of evidence-based practice, access to journal articles in rather important. But one of the challenges our graduates will face once they leave here is the loss of access to journal articles our site licenses provide them. This needs to be unraveled a bit.
First, the cost to institutions to provide those journals is staggering. Without going into details, I can attest that Palmer has to pay significant funds in order to provide our students access to a host of journals such as you can find on our journals holding list. Of course, once a student graduates he or she can access open access publications at no cost, but that can be limiting, since the top chiropractic journals are not open access (at least not for the first year after an article is published).
New models need to be developed. The traditional journal model is subscription driven. That is, users access information only after paying a fee to do so. Given the amount of information available and the number of journals in existence, it is not financially feasible for newly graduated chiropractors to subscribe to every journal that may be of help to them. One model that has been develop is that of open access, where the author of the article pays a fee to have his or her paper published. The quality controls are present in the best open access publications. Of course, for those of us in chiropractic, coming up with $1500 for publication may not be possible. However, the idea is that in many cases, tax dollars have paid for the research and the public (who provided the tax dollars) should not have to pay again to access information they already paid for.

But the challenge here has led to the existence of predatory journals. These are journals that takes you money, publish your paper and provide no quality control whatsoever. Buyer beware!
And there is the question of timeliness. How many times have we watched and waited to see if our paper was accepted by a journal? I once spent 19 months waiting for a decision on one of my papers. That is unconscionable. eLIFE is an open access journal that promises a turnaround time for decision of just a few days.

I can foresee a time where we change the model altogether. Set up a website, invite publications, allow for transparent review, allow readers to see all communications prior to publication, allow publication and then allow commentary. Remove the journal publisher.
It will be interesting to see how this changes over time.

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