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THE LANDSCAPE OF OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING (as I see it)
Jiří Adámek

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 or physics.

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
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm

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

(a) creating a protocol for collecting metadata about files residious in separate archives called Open Archive Initiative
(b) formulating a detailed business guide
(c) a severely limited funding

See also FAQ 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 supporting projects:

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 2003). Eprints.org is an organization dedicated to self-archiving of refereed research literature. It supports creation of OAI compatible archives by providing a software package Eprints.orgSoftware.

Some Examples

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 electronic.

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).

Archives

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 University. It 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 fact, exhausting.

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 Wegner.

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.