Responses: Angela, blue, Janet Green
I. Do we need to analyze the existing market in Library science journals? Andrea and Anita have both raised this question. The reasons for doing so fall into two categories: 1) Determining need—are quality articles going unpublished for lack of an outlet; does the world need another library journal? And 2) Identifying the competition as a way to help us define the scope of our proposed journal.
My view: I’m not inclined to spend a great deal of time on this task (at least at the beginning) for the following reasons. One of the reasons the journal was proposed at all was as an experiment in alternative open-access publication. The rhetoric in the Library community (I’m thinking of Dan Greenstein among others right now) is that academics need to develop new models of scholarly publishing as sustainable alternatives to typical journal publishing. I think this notion is problematic, but that, if anyone can pull it off, it ought to be librarians. As a group, academic librarians should be uniquely well-informed about the publishing crisis; especially supportive of innovative alternatives; and less reluctant to publish in non-traditional venues. Ideally the journal would attract authors who would otherwise seek to publish in established, but expensive titles (of which librarianship has a surfeit). Assessing the size of the pool of publishable articles isn’t that relevant in this scenario.
I think the greatest benefit of this analysis would be in helping us define the scope of the new journal. In this regard, my preference would be to describe our ideal journal first and then see how it might be adapted to have the greatest chance of success in the market.
What are your thoughts?
ANGELA: Although I do think it is important to be informed about the kinds of journals that are out there, I tend to agree with Dan that we don’t need to spend too much time on an in-depth analysis. I do think we should outline our “ideal journal” with the competition in mind, which would require a fairly good knowledge of what is available in the commercial market, but I’m thinking that the members of this committee are probably quite familiar with our competition already.