Wendi Arant Kaspar and Wyoma vanDuinkerken | Co-Editors of The Journal of Academic Librarianship

Wendi Arant Kaspar

Wendi Arant Kaspar

With the first issue of 2013, The Journal of Academic Librarianship (JAL) focused on the open access (OA) debate. As new editors, we hoped that this issue would communicate the diversity of opinions and experiences that the topic merits. Those invited to contribute were not only librarians but publishers, policymakers and academic professionals in a variety of disciplines. The majority of the contributors supported the OA movement, but there was variance in terms of how OA is defined, what it should look like, and the ideal model for implementing and sustaining it. 

We achieved part of our goal of bringing JAL readers a balanced view of the OA debate.

OA is a noble goal for scholarship, based upon free information for all, furthering research and scholarship, and dissemination of information. However, some fundamental aspects of OA are often overlooked. A perfect example is provided by one of the contributors. He refers to a compelling term: “digital advantage,” an elegant term for a messy sociopolitical issue. It illuminates a number of assumptions made about OA and scholarly communication and is used to address the dynamics of expanding OA into developing countries.

Wyoma vanDuinkerken

Wyoma vanDuinkerken

Another article discussed the concern over universities mandating graduate students to place their Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) into institutional repositories, losing their copyrights. We were also fortunate to have Mark J. McCabe, Christopher M. Snyder and Anna Fagin discuss OA vs. traditional journal pricing. David J. Solomon examined the past 20 years of the digital distribution of academic journals and their impact on scholarly communication, while Alicia Wise presented a commercial publisher’s perspective from Elsevier. Several authors contributed to a broad spectrum of perspectives on OA outside the United States, including Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, Dehua Hu, Aijing Luo, Haizia Liu, Sarika Sawant, Rajiv Nariani, Sandra Miguel, Paola C. Bongiovani, Nancy D. Gómez, Gema Bueno-de-la-Fuente and Williams E. Nwagwu.

We hope that this JAL issue will continue to cultivate and amplify a thoughtful and open conversation about OA among the scholarly community of libraries, researchers, faculty, publishers, and their representative associations. We encourage letters to the editor about the articles in the OA issue, and we will publish feedback and commentary throughout 2013 to continue the dialogue.

Visit ScienceDirect to view this issue.

This article first appeared in Elsevier's LibraryConnect.