OA, no way

Yesterday, at the very same time (4.33pm) that I was in a meeting discussing the virtues of open access publishing, I was informed that, due to funding pressures, my institution was no longer covering the cost of open access publication, unless (one of) the author(s) was full staff (or externally funded). Since I’m neither employed nor funded, my publications will no longer be open access, unless the publication itself is open access.

And employers and funders manifestly still care about the generic impact factor of the journals in which articles are published, as they require “internationally excellent” or “world-leading” publications in “leading journals”, which are euphemisms for the most-cited journals (measured by citations by academics), instead of the most accessible or the most appropriate ones (measured by readership and demonstrated by citations by academics, professionals, media, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations (IGOs and NGOs), community groups, citizens…). At least one potential employer would contractually oblige publication in a particular list of journals (none of which are open access).

So, realistically, my publications will no longer be open access. Moreover, I will prioritise the publication of existing work, and I will invest my efforts in new work, that will be appropriate (in subject, content and style) for inaccessible journals, thereby to make me eligible for employment or funding.

My article on obstacles to career progression in archaeology: precarious labour and unemployment, for example, was published in the open-access Papers from the Institute of Archaeology (on the 20th of October 2014). It’s already in the top 25% of articles as measured by altmetrics. Regardless, PIA isn’t on that particular list of journals, so I cannot publish there again.

And my article on using open-source data to identify participation in the illicit antiquities trade: a case study on the Cypriot civil war was published in the otherwise-inaccessible European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (online on the 27th of June 2014, officially on the 1st of December 2014), and was made accessible by my institution’s open access fund. It’s already in the top 5% of articles as measured by altmetrics (out of nearly four million). Now, when I publish research into the trade in conflict antiquities from Syria and Iraq, research into the financing of armed groups in the Syrian civil war, it will not be open access.

4 Comments to “OA, no way”

  1. Oh Sam, that’s rubbish. And so shortsighted of them. I am sorry to hear that.


    • Ooops, that’s not a HARN group comment – although I’m sure they’d all agree – that was me forgetting to sign out of my HARN identity!


  2. Sorry to hear that Sam. Information will always find its way. 🙂


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