THE LANDSCAPE OF OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING (as I see it)
This note is an attempt to summarize
information the executive editor has found on the internet which may be of
relevance for Logical Methods in Computer Science.
No claim on completeness is made, and comments and supplementary information
are most welcome.
Open Access Publishing
The old tradition of scientists willing to
publish their results without payment combined with the possibilities that
internet offers us today can lead to a removal of barriers in access to the
up-to-date research from which the scientific community can benefit
tremendously. For various reasons an open access (i. e., unrestricted and free
of cost) publishing has so far been limited to a small portion of journals -
and, surprisingly, an even smaller portion in computer science than, say, in mathematics
Open access publishing means publishing on the
public internet which allows the user to read, copy, distribute and print the
text, whereas the copyright only serves to give the author control on the integrity
of his work and her or his right to be properly acknowledged and cited.
A useful link for more basic information on open access is
OAI and Other Projects
Within the project of "Open Society"
of Soros a Budapest
Open Access Initiative (OAI) was started in December 2001 (the text
above uses passages of that homepage). It provides general support to open
access journals by
creating a protocol for collecting metadata about files residious in separate
archives called Open Archive Initiative
formulating a detailed business guide
a severely limited funding
about this project.
There are many other projects for support of
open access publishing, but OAI seems to be the broadest one. Other open-access
Public Library of Science, PLOS, with a
definite stress on medical and biological sciences. Since May 2003 PLOS has started
an open-access journal PLOS BIOLOGY. In a PLOS Open Letter, signed by 33
thousand scientists, a boycott against publishers that do not allow free access
to any material they publish after six months was announced. An interesting
comment on this initiative by A. Odlyzko has been published in the Nature. Society for Scholarly
Publishing, a 25-years old organization dedicated to scholarly
publishing which, e. g., includes the Journal of Electronic
Publishing. The Public Knowledge
Project is a project of the University of British Columbia for helping scholarly communities to improve the state of public
knowledge. It includes a package Open Journal Systems supporting e-journals,
compatible with OAI, which has, so far, been used by one journal (since April
is an organization dedicated to self-archiving of refereed research literature.
It supports creation of OAI compatible archives by providing a software package
Here I mention three examples of successful
open-access journals and one of a non-success.
JAIR, the Journal of Artificial
Intelligence Research, was started in 1993 and became a leading
journal in AI. It is an open-access electronic journal published simultaneously
as a hardcopy by Morgan Kaufmann. At the beginning, a NASA grant made it
possible to employ two part-time assistants, the operating costs now are
entirely covered by non-monetary donations of facilities and services by
institutions where the organizers are employed. The way how editorial work is
organized seems AI specific to me and not to be necessarily imitated. In 1999 the
founders Steven Milton and Michael Wellman wrote a paper JAIR at Five
that is definitely worth reading.
The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics launched by Neil Calkin and Herbert Wilf in 1994, is a successful,
very good journal in combinatorics. It started as an open-access journal
without a hardcopy and after five years the International Press has offered to
create a hardcopy version (also backwards) which seems, economically, to
essentially pay the production costs. It is published under "cooperation
of the American Mathematical Society". The first issue contained
essentially contributions of the editors, six months later the journal was
marketed at a big conference in Berkeley. It maintains various links, e. g. "home pages of
combinatorial people and groups".
ToC, Theory of Computing,
is in a number of aspects parallel to Logical Methods in Computer Science.
Both journals started in summer 2004, both are devoted to theoretical
computer science (the focus of ToC is more in the direction of
algorithms, complexity, games, etc.) and both are open access and purely
Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science
was started in 1995, and except for 11 papers published in 1999, its
volumes have been of 4 to 5 papers a year until 2000, from then
on the journal has been slowly dying. It is important to try and analyze the reasons. One
can be the somewhat unfortunate name. Another is the "support"
received from the MIT Press: at the beginning they offered free support which
was used to finance editorial help, later they insisted on getting their money
back by imposing charges ($ 30 for individuals and $ 125 for institutions).
There are many projects of archives offering
the possibility of storing electronic texts. We can think about using one of
them as a basis for our journal, but I have found no ideal candidate.
arXiv.org has been created by Paul Ginsparg
in 1991 (originally Los Alamos
e‑print archive LANL), and is now operated by Cornell
consists of three parts: Physics, Mathematics and Computing Research
Repository (CoRR), an archive established in 1998 through a partnership
of LANL and ACM. It has an advisory committee chaired by Joe Halpern. The
long-time funding situation is not clear. To submit a paper is tedious, in
EMANI (Electronic Mathematics
Archives Network Initiative). A project of four universities: Cornell, Goettingen,
Tsinghua [Beijing] and Orsay
[Paris] under coordination of Bernd Wegner, and with support of the Springer Verlag.
The aim is to store mathematics papers in digital form (a first step: 300.000
pages of text previously available in print only. The
project also plans a long-term preservation activity for the repository, Wegner
spoke on telephone about a "LaTex competence centre" formed by the
four universities that would take care about the future readability of the
files. See also a short paper of
ELiBM (The Electronic Library of
Mathematics) is a repository run by EMIS (The
European Mathematical Information Service) and has several projects, including
a broadly based electronic distribution and archiving network for mathematics.
It is coordinated by B. Wegner. See guidelines for
journals to be included in the ELIBM.