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Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
  Ejournals and journal services: What is worth paying for?
*rant alert*
This post has been bubbling up for a while, but I'm finally taking time out to say it. (see a discussion about crossref and free cloud on J.R.'s site)

This is in response to
a) Statements by some that anyone can publish a journal (and do it well), that journal hosting services provide little or no value, and that stashing copies of articles anywhere in a random pdf format is just as good as publishing in a journal
b) The ICOLC Statement, which says in part:
1. Purchasers will trade features for price; that is, we can do without costly new interfaces and features. This is not a time for new products. Marketing efforts for new products will have only limited effects, if any at all.
Part of what we (libraries) pay for when we license electronic journals is:
AIAA and some other publishers have chosen to ignore most if not all of these requirements, and to strike out on their own - but we still subscribe because they're the only game in town. Some libraries are so cash-strapped, that they use aggregators for journal full text instead of using the journal platform. This limits the features available and the context provided for the article as well as frequently imposing an embargo on access (new articles are not available, articles are available after 12 months or so). (I choose to believe that they use aggregators because they're cash-strapped, not because they're too lazy to make individual subscription/platform decisions).

Publishers (like small societies) do not have to figure this out on their own - they join crossref, and they hire an organization like atypon or highwire or ingenta or even (eek) Elsevier or Wiley Blackwell to make their journals available.

It IS worth money to:

We DO NOT want to give publishers (like aiaa) and others more money to:
*done ranting, I feel better now, thank you*

Update, later that day: AIAA now has DOIs, thank goodness, but they still have issues. You could host your journal on BMC (if you are in Biomed!) or on some open journal service - not all of these are created equally! Your data export should be available in every format major bibliographic/citation managers take (ris, txt, endnote ,refworks, BibTeX...). Nice text and online as well as offline readability (how about readable html and readable pdf!)
 
Comments:
Christina- a good rant I think!

We do want things that make the scholarly communication system as a whole work better; we don’t need (e.g.) a new visually exciting search tool that searches only one publisher’s content.

Publishers should prioritise work on standards and collaborative initiatives over developing their own cute bells and whistles.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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