INternational Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Vol 4 Issue 2 july- december 2009


Copyright © 2009 International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences (IJCJS) – Official Journal of the South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology (SASCV) ISSN: 0973-5089 July – December Vol. 4 (2): 98–117

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This license does not permit commercial exploitation or the creation of derivative works without specific permission.

 

Publishing in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Assessing

Journal Editors’ Awareness and Acceptance of Open Access

 

Matthew Robinson[1] & Allan Scherlen[2]

Appalachian State University, USA

 

Abstract

The authors, building upon a previous article that challenged the subscription-based journal publishing model, assess the awareness and attitudes of editors of journals in criminology and criminal justice toward open access, author rights, and related issues of justice. The authors employ a survey to capture opinions from editors of dozens of journals in criminology and criminal justice with regard to traditional subscription-based vs. open access publishing. The results show that editors in the field widely embrace the principles on which open access is based and favor allowing authors more freedom to expand and control access to their scholarship while remaining resistant to making their journals open access. These findings and their implications for “justice” and the future of scholarly communication in criminology and criminal justice are discussed.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Key Words: Criminology, Criminal Justice, Open Access, Editors, Publishing.

 

Introduction

Open access generally refers to the free availability of scholarly literature on the public Internet, permitting anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, or print the full text without restrictions (other than to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited). Open access means there are no unnecessary licensing, copyright, or subscription restrictions (Cornwell & Suber, 2008). When people refer to “open access,” they most commonly are talking about journals that feature scholarship published online, freely available to readers. Yet, open access also includes self-archiving, both in the form of faculty members at universities maintaining their own websites where they offer copies of their own scholarship, and universities themselves (e.g., through library services) that collect and publicly disseminate scholarship authored by faculty on web-accessible institutional repositories.

In spite of these possibilities, open access practices are far less common than one might expect. In the academic disciplines of criminal justice and criminology, open access is generally not widely known or understood. This is ironic given the implications for justice of current publishing arrangements. Scherlen and Robinson (2008), using two postmodern theories of social justice, argued that current publishing arrangements in criminal justice are inconsistent with social justice. This “injustice” occurs because the traditional method of distributing knowledge in criminal justice and criminology—practiced by journals that restrict access only to a limited subset of scholars and practitioners who gain access through a paid subscription—interferes with the principles laid out in leading theories of social justice as well as international laws such as the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. As for the international laws mentioned, they explain that every person has the right to free education and access to knowledge, the right to benefit from advances in knowledge, and the right to benefit from and control one’s own work.

As for the social justice theories, they posit that citizens enjoy the rights to equal liberties and equal opportunities (Rawls, 2003). Restricting access to scholarship through subscription barriers restricts people’s right to knowledge (including the equal right to benefit from advances in knowledge), as well as the rights of individuals to benefit from their own work. The theories also posit that citizens should enjoy the rights to have their needs met, to have their work rewarded (i.e., desert), and to be treated equally (i.e., equality) (Miller, 2003). Restricting access to scholarship through subscription barriers limits the ability of individuals to increase their educational attainment in order to better meet their own needs. Further, by restricting access through subscription tolls, individuals are not given full access to the information they deserve as human beings as well as citizens. Additionally, within such restrictions scholars do not fully gain rewards earned through their own work. Finally, within the traditional subscription model people are being treated unequally since more or less access to knowledge is based largely on their ability to pay for it. The essential purpose of open access journals is simply to reach more readers than subscription-based journals (Tenopir, 2004).

Many agree that open access is more in line with the “common good” and our democratic principles (Willinksy, 2002). For example, Blaaij (2006) writes that “the accessibility of scientific information is crucial as a political instrument in strengthening a democratic society and to improve the knowledge driven society by efficient and effective distribution of scientific information” (p. 7). In spite of such growing assertions, academic journal publishing has become big business, run for profit, and providing access largely only to those who can pay for it.

 

The State of Publishing

According to Willinsky (2006), a handful of corporate publishers produce a growing portion of academic literature. Four major publishers—Reed Elsevier (with over 2,000 journal titles); Springer (with over 1,700 titles); John Wiley, which acquired Blackwell for $1.1 billion and became Wiley-Blackwell (with over 1,250 titles); and Taylor & Francis (with over 1,000 titles)—control the vast majority of the research indexed in the ISI Web of Science citation index. As large, for-profit corporations have taken over journals, subscription prices have increased dramatically (McCabe, 2002).

Even in the academic disciplines of criminal justice and criminology— disciplines that are to a great extent focused on issues of “justice”—little notice has been taken of the fact that the distribution of scholarship has largely been made commercial with little critical discussion within the discipline about the scholarly ramifications of this arrangement. Academic societies by and large have chosen to outsource the publishing of their journals to large corporate publishers such as Sage, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley-Blackwell, which earn a substantial profit by limiting access to scholarship through annually inflated subscription barriers (Scherlen & Robinson, 2008). These commercial publishing arrangements have not, of course, been without some benefits for academic associations and their members. The associations are relieved of the burden of managing journals and receive a share of the profits from subscriptions while subscribers gain access to value-added digital delivery systems.

But increasingly it is becoming evident that high-priced journals are affecting accessibility of citizens to scholarship. When practitioners, scholars, and even academic institutions and their libraries cannot afford to pay ever-inflating journal subscription fees, scholars who write journal articles have a diminishing impact on an ever-narrowing audience.  Moreover, subscription barriers—which translate into journal titles not being available at their library—blocks potential access to important information that could inform their own work. Ironically, the cost of much of the research upon which many articles are based is born by grant funding agencies, authors’ home institutions, and authors themselves. The labor employed for peer review of submitted articles is also generally done gratis by academicians in the field. Yet, there are times when authors cannot even access their own articles without paying a fee! Open access is one potential solution to this problem (Harnad & Brody, 2004).

Open access initiatives have expanded rapidly in recent years (Morrison, 2009). In 2009, institutional mandates—requiring faculty to archive their journal articles in their university’s open access repository—grew from twenty-five institutions worldwide a few years ago to seventy-nine in 2009. The number of open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) grew in 2009 to over 4,400 titles, an increase of more than 700 journals during 2009. Open access principles have also steadily expanded at various levels within the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology. For example, in their review of open access journals in criminal justice and criminology, Scherlen and Robinson (2008) noted only twelve open-access journals related to the field that could be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as of January 2007. Since 2007, a number of journals that serve the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology were added to the DOAJ database, including Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice, the International Journal of Cyber Criminology, Open Forensic Science Journal, and Open Criminology Journal, bringing the number of CJ journals in DOAJ to twenty-eight open access titles.[3]

Generally speaking, corporate publishers are opposed to making their journals open access, at least without charging substantial fees to pay their costs (Watkinson, 2006). They’ve even gone as far as hiring public relations firms to counter the movement toward open access. For example,  the Association of American Publishers hired Dezenhall Resources to “paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles,” aimed at trying to create the impression that open access journals are not peer-reviewed (Brown & Monastersky, 2007). In spite of this opposition, scholars generally agree that open access publishing represents the future (Kelty et al., 2008).

Yet, a recent experience of one of the authors of this paper shows that open access journal publishing still has a long way to go. After having an article accepted for publication in a commercially produced journal (a journal about social justice no less!), the author was given the option to make his article open access. The publisher noted: “Choosing open access means making your journal article freely available to everyone, everywhere in exchange for your payment of an open access publication fee. You will not be required to transfer copyright. The final published version of your article can be archived in institutional or funder repositories and can be made publicly accessible immediately.” The cost of this service was $3,000, to be paid by the author! And this choice “is final and cannot be cancelled later.” Of course, authors can make most traditionally published articles open access for no cost by submitting the post-print of their articles themselves to their institutional repository but publishers—like the one mentioned above—may not be very forthcoming with that small detail.

Far more important than shifting journal publishing itself to an open access model or even getting scholars to choose to publish in open access journals is the need for scholars to self-archive their scholarship in a web-accessible institutional repository. As Harnad (2004) has noted, while the conversion of scholarly publishing to open access is still far out of sight, near total open access is well within our immediate grasp if authors of academia would universally participate in self-archiving their articles in an e-repository or at least on their own web site. Already, as noted earlier, the members of seventy-nine universities have agreed to mandate the deposit of newly published articles into their institution’s repositories while forty-two funding groups now require their grant recipients to make a copy of the final article open access (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies, 2010).

The number of open access archives for scholarship has grown to over 1,500 worldwide as listed in OpenDOAR website. These developments mean that scholars in the field of criminal justice have a growing opportunity to expand the accessibility of their work through self-archiving in an institutional repository. Cross-checking the list of top criminal justice/criminology graduate schools provided by U.S. News and World Report 2009 rankings against the Directory of Open Access Repositories at OpenDOAR.org shows that, of twenty-five graduate schools listed, seventeen currently have institutional repositories for faculty scholarship while only eight do not (Directory of Open Access Repositories, 2010). Thus, most of the major institutions where much of the scholarship in criminal justice and criminology is done in the U.S. have institutional repositories waiting for their work to be made open access to the world by the simple act of deposit.

Most academic journal publishers allow for some form of self-archiving. An examination of 523 journal policies regarding author rights to archive by researchers at Sherpa/RoMEO found 63% of non-open access journals consent in advance to post-print [the final peer-reviewed version] archiving while another 31% of journals consent to self-archiving the pre-print [pre-peer-reviewed version] of the author’s article (Sherpa-Romeo, 2010). Authors can easily discover if their publisher allows them to self archive their articles by searching for a journal’s polices using the Sherpa/Romeo database, examining a journal’s policies usually located on the journal website, or simply e-mailing the editor for permission. Many publishers, moreover, will grant permission upon request.[4]

 

Why assess Journal Editors?

The authors examined the literature on open access and academic journal publishing only to discover that while the subject receives intense discussion among scholars publishing in science, technology and medicine (STM) journals and among those involved in journal publishing organizations and library science, much of the discussion has been taking place outside the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology.  A search of the keyword phrase “open access” in the Criminal Justice Periodical Index only yielded twenty articles of which only one addressed criminal justice journals.[5] That single article, written by the authors of this paper, which called for open access to scholarship in criminal justice and criminology concluded with a major starting place:  encourage the membership of professional associations and the editors of journals to discuss the merits of opening access to their literature. The editors see their share of the discipline’s literature in the form of paper submissions. They have experience in the craft and process of disseminating that literature. And so, it is conjectured by the authors of this paper—even though some editors may be set in their ways and tied to traditional publishing practice— their experience and vested interest in academic publishing must lend them toward worthwhile insights not only in sustaining their own publication but also for finding ways to assure knowledge and discourse within the discipline continues to thrive in the future. If open access to a greater or lesser degree is to be a part of that future in scholarship in criminal justice and criminology, it is logical to begin this important discussion with those centrally involved in an important current mode of the scholarly communication process, journal editors.

 

Methodology of the study

In order to assess the perceptions of journal editors in criminal justice and criminology, we created a survey instrument pertaining to publishing, open access, and social justice. The survey was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the authors’ university.

 

Selection of Journal Editors to Survey

The authors assembled a list of journals that serve research within the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology by integrating the lists of a number of journal article indexes and journal directories. Since the fields of criminal justice and criminology are interdisciplinary and literature of the field can be found published in journals of various related fields including sociology, psychology, law, and political science—to name a few—the authors chose to restrict the bulk of their list to journals that are primarily focused on criminal justice and criminology.  However, some journals from related fields were included to broaden the sample. These included some journals in the areas of aggression and deviant behavior. The authors also included two open access journals in the initial list even though the survey questions asked about the editor’s views on issues related to open access since they were both, in the opinion of the authors, well-established in the field.

The first step in building the list of journals to be surveyed was to collect the names of those journals listed as peer-reviewed in Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory 2009 (R.R Bowker), and Serials Directory (via EBSCOhost) as well as indexed in key journal indexes used by researchers and students in the field. The indexes chosen were: Social Science Citation Index (Web of Science, Thomson Reuters) (SSCI), National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), and the Criminal Justice Periodicals Index (ProQuest) (CJPI). SSCI was chosen because it is looked upon by many as the traditional gold standard for establishing journal rankings and the core journals of a discipline.  NCJRS was chosen because it is a long established and respected bibliographical index hosted by the U.S. Government. And CJPI was chosen because it is a major commercial index of criminal justice literature.  The authors then refined the list of criminal justice, criminology, and related journals to be surveyed by selecting only those that appeared in at least two of the three indexes.  The authors then made sure they had included journals from the American Society of Criminology (ASC) journal list (http://www.asc41.com/JOURNALS. html). The resulting list totaled over one-hundred journal titles.

The authors then set out to find current contact information for the editors of the journals chosen. They first used Ulrich's International Periodical Directory 2009 (R.R Bowker), and Serials Directory (via EBSCOhost) and confirmed or revised those findings by searching through websites of the journals and websites of the editors’ institutions. Ultimately, the researchers were able to compile a spreadsheet containing current and valid contact information for sixty-five editors of journals in the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology to be contacted as recipients of the survey instrument.

An e-mail was sent to each respondent notifying them of the impending arrival of the survey. The survey was then mailed to the sixty-five editors. The survey contained thirty-six questions which were primarily multiple-choice (the instrument is available upon request from the authors). Participants were informed that their participation in the study was voluntary and they were given the option to not identify themselves by name on their survey form. To further protect confidentiality, participants were not identified by name in this final study report and any information told explicitly in confidence was respected as such. During the report-writing phase care was taken by the researchers to be sure no confidential information was used to link any individual respondents with specific responses.  

 

The Instrument

The questionnaire sent to the journal editors covered six areas related to academic journal and author rights:  (1) [Q 1-4] Four questions asked about each editor’s length and breadth of experience in journal work; (2) [Q 5-7] Three questions related to each editor’s opinion regarding whether scholars should be able to access as much scholarship as possible and/or be able to reach as wide an audience as possible--both in general and in regards to their particular journals; (3)  [Q 8-10] Three questions solicited the editors’ opinions on whether scholars should be permitted to self-archive and control their own published work;  (4) [Q 11-21] Eleven questions addressed the editors’ familiarity with open access publishing as well as their journal’s openness in terms of becoming open access or making back issues open access; (5) [Q 22-25] Four questions sought the editors’ opinion as well as knowledge regarding their own journals’ policy regarding authors’ rights to self-archive articles after publication; And, finally, (6) [Q 26-30] five questions solicited the editors’ attitudes regarding social justice and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as related to authors’ rights and access to scholarship

 

Response rate

We ultimately received responses from 29 journal editors. This represents a 45% response rate. Ideally, we would like to have received a higher portion of the surveys the authors sent out, but many editors simply refused to participate. Yet, the response rate is considered sufficient for survey research (Punch, 2003). Of the respondents, only one was the editor of an open access journal. Thus, nearly all of our respondents were editors of traditional, subscription based journals.

 

Results and Discussion

Beginning with a summary of the respondents, a large majority (69%) of our sample are at the Professor level, followed by 17% Associate Professor and 7% Assistant Professor. Two additional respondents (7%) identified themselves as doctoral students. We suspect these may be respondents who are serving in the Managing Editor role for journals.

The average length of time that respondents had been serving as editor of their respective journal at the time of the survey was 4.9 years. This means that our respondents have been involved in a combined 142 years of editorial experience.

The vast majority (86%) of our respondents had not served as editor of another journal. Only 14% of our respondents had served as editor of another journal. Of these respondents who had served as editor of another journal, the average time of service as editor was 6.5 years. Further, nearly all (93%) of the respondents had also served in a different editorial capacity with another journal. The average time of editorial experience was 12.9 years. This amounts to a total of 348 years of additional journal experience. From these data, we are confident that our respondents have an enormous amount of experience editing journals as well as serving in other editorial roles with journals (e.g., editorial board, associate editor).

Table 1 depicts the current publishing arrangements that the journals edited by our respondents had in place at the time of the survey. More than half (59%) of the respondents indicated that the journals they edited “restrict access of the general public to its content.” Further, almost half (45%) of the respondents indicated that the journals they edited “restrict access of scholars to its content.” Additionally, about half (48%) of the respondents indicated that the journals they edited “restrict access of criminal justice practitioners to its content.” About half (46%) of the respondents also indicated that the journals they edited “restrict the rights of the author of a work within it to archive it on a publicly accessible personal faculty website.” Finally, about half (48%) of the respondents also indicated that the journals they edited “restrict the rights of the author of a work within it to archive it on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository.” Given that only one of our respondents edits an open access journal, an interesting finding is that these percentages were not higher, for the journals our respondents edit do in fact restrict access to their journals under certain circumstances.

Each of these practices is inconsistent with open access publishing. Open access aims to make information widely available to the public, to scholars, and to practitioners. Further, open access does not restrict the rights of authors to archive their works on websites or an electronic repository. Our first major finding is thus that the publishing arrangements of the journals edited by our respondents are largely not consistent with open access.

Table 1 – Current Publishing Arrangements of Journals and Awareness of “Open Access” Publishing

 

Responses

 

Yes

No

Unsure

Journal restricts access of the general public to its content (n = 29)

17 (59%)

12 (41%)

0 (0%)

Journal restricts access of scholars to its content (n = 29)

13 (45%)

13 (45%)

3 (10%)

Journal restricts access of criminal justice practitioners to its content (n = 29)

14 (48%)

12 (41%)

3 (10%)

Journal restricts the rights of the author of a work within it to archive it on a publicly accessible personal faculty website (n = 28)

13 (46%)

6 (21%)

9 (32%)

Journal restricts the rights of the author of a work within it to archive it on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository(n = 29)

14 (48%)

5 (17%)

10 (35%)

Aware of Open Access? (n = 29)

26 (90%)

3 (10%)

0 (0%)

 

 

How Aware of Open Access? (n = 29)

 

 

Very aware

Somewhat aware

Not at all aware

16 (55%)

10 (35%)

3 (10%)

 

 

Table 1 also shows that the vast majority of respondents (90%) said they had “ever heard of ‘open access’ or ‘open access publishing.’” Only three respondents (10%) had never heard of open access publishing. Further, of the 90% who indicated they were aware of open access, 55% said they were very aware of it, while 35% indicated they were somewhat aware of it. Again, 10% indicated they were not aware of it at all. Thus, a second major finding is that journal editors in criminal justice are aware of open access.

Table 2 demonstrates that respondents seem to strongly favor the principles on which open access publishing is founded. For example, every respondent (100%) said they strongly favor “scholars being able to access as much scholarship as possible to inform their own work.” Every respondent also indicated they favored “scholars reaching as wide an audience as possible with their scholarship.” Further, every respondent indicated they favored “reaching as wide as possible an audience with the journal you edit.”

 

Table 2 – Opinion of Open Access Principles - 1

 

Responses (n=29)

 

Strongly favor

Favor

Neutral        

Oppose

Strongly Oppose

Unsure

Support scholars being able to access as much scholarship as possible to inform their own work

 

29 (100%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

Support scholars reaching as wide an audience as possible with their scholarship

 

28 (97%)

1 (3%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

Support reaching as wide an audience as possible with the journal you edit

28 (97%)

1 (3%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

 

The findings are consistent with open access publishing. Open access publishing makes content available to anyone who wants access to it, including of course scholars. Open access also allows scholars to reach virtually anyone with their work. Finally, open access publishing would help journal editors reach a wider audience. Thus, a third major finding of this research is that journal editors in criminal justice are highly supportive of the principles that underlie open access publishing (even though the journals they edit tend not to be open access journals).

In spite of what might be seen as signs that our respondents might generally accept open access publishing, this is not necessarily true. Support for open access publishing varied among our respondents based on how questions were asked. For example, in terms of general opinion of open access publishing, we asked respondents whether they favored “making scholarly literature freely available on the public Internet, permitting anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, or print the full text, without restrictions, other than to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.” Table 3 shows results for this question. More than half (55%) of respondents said they favored it. Thus, when open access was more specifically defined, support fell from 100% to 55%. Still, only 24% of respondents opposed open access when it was defined this way. Another 17% said they were neutral and 3% were unsure.

 

Table 3 – Opinion of Open Access Principles - 2

 

Responses

(n = 29)

 

Strongly favor

Favor

Neutral        

Oppose

Strongly oppose        

Unsure

Opinion of “making scholarly literature freely available on the public Internet, permitting anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, or print the full text, without restrictions, other than to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited”

9 (31%)

7 (24%)

 

  5 (17%)

 

4 (14%)

3 (10%)

 

1 (3%)

 

Opinion of “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published”

8 (28%)

12 (42%)

 

5 (17%)

 

1 (3%)

1 (3%)

 

2 (7%)

Opinion of “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published”

9 (31%)

 

8 (28%)

 

7 (24%)

 

1 (3%)

2 (7%)

  2 (7%)

 

Opinion of “scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal”

8 (28%)

 

5 (17%)

 

  7 (24%)

 

4 (14%)

2 (7%)

 

3 (10%)

 

 

Table 3 also shows respondents’ opinions “with regard to scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published.” Here, support was higher at 70%. Only 6% opposed this. Another 17% said they were neutral and 7% were unsure.

Also shown in Table 3 are respondents’ opinions “with regard to scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published.” Here, support was still above 50%. Specifically, 59% of respondents said they favored it. Yet, only 10% opposed open access when it was defined this way. Another 24% said they were neutral and 7% were unsure.

Finally, Table 3 shows respondents’ opinions “with regard to scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal.” Here, support fell below 50%. Specifically, 45% of respondents said they favored it. Another 21% opposed this. Another 24% said they were neutral and 10% were unsure.

Based on these results, a fourth major finding of our research is that support for actual practices of open access is weaker than support for the principles at the heart of open access. The degree of support for open access depends on the question being asked, but ranges from 45% to 70%. Yet, in every case, support for the practices of open access was higher than opposition to it; opposition ranged only from 6% to 24% depending on the measure. It is interesting that support was lowest for scholars being able to own and control their own work after it appears in a journal.

When asked to “rank the overall quality of scholarship in traditional subscription journals in Criminal Justice and Criminology such as the one(s) you have edited?” 61% of respondents rated traditional journals as excellent (18%) or very good (43%). Another 29% ranked these journals as good. Only one respondent (4%) ranked the journals as not very good and no one ranked them as poor. Two respondents (7%) said they were not sure. These results are shown in Table 4.

When asked to “rank the overall quality of scholarship appearing in open access journals in Criminal Justice and Criminology,” the majority of respondents (55%) said they were not sure. This leads us to believe that at least half of our respondents have not read enough scholarship in open access journals in order to adequately rate their relative level of quality. Of the 45% who rated open access journals, none of the respondents ranked these journals as excellent and only 14% rated them as very good. Another 17% ranked these journals as good. About 14% rated these journals as not very good (7%) or poor (7%).

 

Table 4 – Ranking Open Access and Traditional Subscription Publishing

 

Responses

 

Excellent

 

 

Very good

Good

Not very good

Poor

Unsure

Overall quality of traditional subscription journals (n = 28)

5 (18%)

 

12 (43%)

 

  8 (29%)

 

 

1 (4%)

0 (0%)

 

  2 (7%)

Overall quality of open access journals (n = 29)

0 (0%)

 

4 (14%)

  5 (17%)

 

2 (7%)

 

2 (7%)

 

16 (55%)

 

Open access journals are much better

(n = 28)

 

Open access journals are a bit better

(n = 28)

 

Open access are equal in quality

(n = 28)

 

Traditional subscription journals are a bit better

(n = 28)

 

Traditional subscription journals are much better

(n = 28)

 

Unsure

(n = 28)

 

 

0 (0%)

 

0 (0%)

 

 4 (14%)

 

 

7 (25%)

6 (21%)

 

11 (39%)

 

Finally, when asked to “rank the overall quality of open access journals in Criminal Justice and Criminology relative to traditional subscription journals such as the one(s) you have edited?” the largest portion (39%) of the respondents was not sure. This is logically due to the fact that about half of the respondents were simply not aware enough about open access journals to compare them to traditional journals. Yet, of those who did rank open access journals relative to traditional journals, only 14% rated open access journals as equal in quality to traditional journals, and none said that open access journals are much better or a bit better. About half (46%) rated traditional journals as better (Table 4).

A fifth major finding of our research is thus that journal editors in criminal justice generally have a much more favorable view of traditional journals than they do of open access journals. Yet, a large percentage of our respondents were “unsure” about this issue. It is possible that this is due to the editors not being very informed about the quality of scholarship in open access journals.

Given that all but one of the editors we surveyed were editors of journals that are not open access journals, we were interested in whether the editors would be open to “making the journal you edit an open access journal.” When asked this question, 28% said they favored doing so. Another 31% did not favor making their journal open access. Almost one-third (28%) of respondents were neutral and 14% were unsure. These results are depicted in Table 5.

 

Table 5 – Opinion of Making Journal You Edit Open Access

 

Responses

(n = 29)

 

Strongly favor

Favor

Neutral        

Oppose

Strongly oppose        

Unsure

Support making open access journal

   6 (21%)           

              

 

2 (7%)

 

 8 (28%)

 

3 (10%)

6 (21%)

 

4 (14%)

Support making back files open access

7 (24%)

8 (28%)

 

5 (17%)

 

3 (10%)

3 (10%)

 

3 (10%)

Support giving authors the right to archive their work on a personal faculty website

8 (28%)

 

9 (31%)

 

8 (28%)

 

1 (3%)

1 (3%)

  2 (7%)

 

Support allowing authors the right to archive their work on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository

8 (28%)

 

9 (31%)

  7 (24%)

 

3 (10%)

0 (0%)

 

2 (7%)

 

 

When asked about whether they would favor making past issues (or “back files”) available online to anyone, more than half (52%) favored this. Only 20% did not favor making their journal open access. Another 17% were neutral and 10% were unsure.

Support was even higher for “allowing authors of your journal the right to archive their work independently of the publication on a publicly accessible personal faculty website.” More than half (59%) favored this. Only 6% did not favor making their journal open access. Another 28% were neutral and 7% were unsure.

Support was equally high for “allowing authors of your journal the right to archive their work independently of the publication on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository.” More than half (59%) favored this. Only 10% did not favor making their journal open access. Another 24% were neutral and 7% were unsure.

Thus, a sixth major finding of this work is that journal editors are not generally favorable of making the journals they edit open access journals, although support is nearly equal to opposition and a large portion are either neutral or unsure. Further, more than half of our respondents favor making back files of journals open access, of giving authors the right to archive their work on personal websites, and of giving authors the right to archive their work on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository. This is all evidence of support for open access.

Table 6 illustrates the perceived relevance of international declarations and covenants for journal publishing. Only one-third (33%) of respondents said that international laws granting people the “right to receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers and to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” should “be relevant for the way your journal publishes articles,” versus only 19% who said it should not be relevant. About half (48%) were not sure. Further, only about one-third (30%) of respondents said that international laws specifying that “education should be free to all and generally available and accessible to all” should “be relevant for the way your journal publishes articles,” versus 22% who said it should not be relevant. About half (48%) were not sure. Additionally, slightly more than one-third (37%) of respondents said that international laws specifying that “individuals should be able to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” should “be relevant for the way your journal publishes articles,” versus only 19% who said this should not be relevant. About half (44%) were not sure.

Finally, almost half (46%) of respondents said that international laws specifying that “individuals should be able to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” should “be relevant for the way your journal publishes articles,” versus only 15% who said it should not be relevant. Another 39% were not sure.

 

Table 6 – Relevance of International Declarations/Covenants

 

Responses

(n = 27

 

Yes

No

Unsure

Relevance of Articles 19 and 27.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifying that all people have the right to “receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers and to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”                                  

9(33%)

 

5 (19%)

13(48%)

 

Relevance of Article 13.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “education should be free to all and generally available and accessible to all.”

8 (30%)

 

6 (22%)

 

13 (48%)

 

Relevance of Article 15.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “individuals should be able to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.”

10 (37%)

 

5 (19%)

12 (44%)

Relevance of Article 15.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “individuals should be able to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”

12 (46%)

 

 

4 (15%)

10 (39%)

 

 

Thus, a seventh major finding of this work is that journal editors are generally not sure about the relevance of international law for the way their journals operate. This is probably not surprising considering the international laws from which these rights arise are unknown to most. Further, it is unlikely that many journal editors would even consider these laws as important to their journal functions in the first place. That nearly half of our respondents thought the final right of individuals being able to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author is, however, consistent with open access publishing.

Note that, in each case, a higher percentage of respondents indicated they thought that these declarations and covenants are “relevant for the way your journal publishes articles” than said the declarations and covenants were not relevant. In fact, in no case did more than 22% of respondents say these kinds of documents were not relevant.

Yet, given that such a large percentage of our respondents answered “unsure” to each of these questions, this makes it impossible to determine if relationships exist between perceived relevance of these international declarations and covenants pertaining to social justice and outcomes of open access publishing addressed in the survey. That is, it is not possible for us to determine if those respondents who think these documents are relevant for journal publishing are more or less likely to support open access publishing than those who do not think the documents are relevant.

We looked for relationships between numerous variables we treated as independent variables (e.g., degree of awareness of open access) and others we treated as dependent variables (e.g., support for open access publishing). Although many were in the expected direction and though some resulted in statistically significant chi-square values, more than one-fifth of the expected values in the cells of the cross-tabs were less than five, making the chi-square tests not dependable. Even after recoding the variables into fewer categories, this was still a problem, due entirely to our small sample size. Thus, we recorded the variables of interest into two categories each. As an example, we recoded the awareness of open access variable into two categories—those that were very aware of open access versus everyone else (those who were only somewhat aware of not at all aware). Another example is we recoded open access opinion variables into two categories—those that strongly favored or favored open access versus everyone else (those who were neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure).

After doing this, most of the chi-square tests we ran were in the direction we expected, and many were statistically significant. For example, those respondents who were most aware of open access were more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (88% versus 12%). This was statistically significant (X2=6.604, df=1, p=0.01). They were also more like to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (88% versus 12%). This was statistically significant (X2=5.729, df=1, p=0.017). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published” (69% versus 31%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=1.510, df=1, p=0.219). Finally, they were also more likely to favor “making scholarly literature freely available on the public Internet, permitting anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, or print the full text, without restrictions, other than to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (63% versus 37%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=0.775, df=1, p=0.379).

Those respondents who thought Articles 19 and 27.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifying that all people have the right to “receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers and to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” were relevant were more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (89% versus 11%). This was statistically significant (X2=6.075, df=1, p=0.014). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue  (89% versus 11%). This was also statistically significant (X2=3.819, df=1, p=0.049). They were also more likely to favor “authors of your journal the right to archive their work independently of the publication on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (100% versus 0%). This was statistically significant (X2=4.725, df=1, p=0.03). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (67% versus 33%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=1.854, df=1, p=0.173). Finally, they were more likely to favor putting past articles online than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (78% versus 22%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=3.635, df=1, p=0.057).

Further, those respondents who thought Article 13.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “education should be free to all and generally available and accessible to all” was relevant were more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (88% versus 12%). This was statistically significant (X2=4.698, df=1, p=0.03). They are also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (88% versus 12%). This was not statistically significant (X2=2.935, df=1, p=0.087). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (63% versus 37%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=0.938, df=1, p=0.333). Finally, they were also more likely to favor putting past articles online than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (75% versus 25%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=2.440, df=1, p=0.118).

Similarly, those respondents who thought Article 15.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “individuals should be able to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” were more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (80% versus 20%). This was statistically significant (X2=3.844, df=1, p=0.05). They are also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (80% versus 20%), but this was not statistically significant (X2=1.977, df=1, p=0.160). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (60% versus 40%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=0.894, df=1, p=0.345). Finally, they were also more likely to favor putting past articles online than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (70% versus 30%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=2.095, df=1, p=0.148).

Respondents who thought Article 15.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights specifying that “individuals should be able to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” were more likely to favor putting past articles online than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (75% versus 25%), and this was statistically significant (X2=4.013, df=1, p=0.045). They were also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online by archiving it on their personal website once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (75% versus 25%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=0.910, df=1, p=0.340).

They are also more likely to favor “scholars being able to make their own work freely available online through a university or agency maintained electronic repository once it is published” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (83% versus 17%), but this was not statistically significant (X2=0.516, df=1, p=0.473). Finally, they were more likely to favor “scholars being able to own and maintain control of their own work once it is published in a traditional journal” than to be neutral, strongly opposed, opposed, or unsure about this issue (58% versus 42%), although this was not statistically significant (X2=0.619, df=1, p=0.431).

Thus, a final major finding of this research is that those respondents who are most aware of open access and of the opinion that international laws are relevant for the way journals operate are more supportive of open access publishing. This suggests the possibility that increasing awareness of open access and international law will increase support of open access publishing.

 

Conclusion

This study examined the perceptions of journal editors in criminal justice and criminology regarding open access and principles of justice related to publishing and author’s rights. The questions were general in nature and not intended to retrieve the full detail of the editors’ knowledge and/or opinions related to various nuanced approaches to opening access to scholarship. But the survey was useful in beginning to understand where these major players in journal publishing stand on the broad questions of open access.

Our study of journal editors found that the journals being edited by our respondents were largely not consistent with open access. The vast majority of the journal editors in this study are aware to some extent of open access. Importantly, journal editors in criminal justice and criminology are highly supportive of the principles that underlie open access publishing. Yet, support for actual practices of open access is weaker than support for the principles at the heart of open access. The degree of support for open access depends on the question being asked, but ranges from 45% to 70%. Yet, in every case, support for the practices of open access was higher than opposition to it. This leads us to believe that editors of journals in the fields of criminal justice and criminology may very well be open to seriously considering making their journals open access at some time in the future; at the least, they are willing to consider it.

However, among our respondents, journal editors generally have a much more favorable view of traditional journals than they do of open access journals. Given then a large percentage of our respondents were “unsure” about this issue, it is possible that this is due to the editors not being very informed about the quality of scholarship in open access journals or to a bias for the traditional model for which they have become accustomed. Thus, a logical implication is to make scholars in the field more aware of open access journals and the scholarship they contain.

Journal editors are not generally favorable of making the journals they edit open access journals, although support is nearly equal to opposition and a large portion are either neutral or unsure. Further, more than half of our respondents favor making back files of journals open access, of giving authors the right to archive their work on personal websites, and of giving authors the right to archive their work on their institution’s or agency’s publicly accessible electronic repository. This is all evidence of support for open access.

Our journal editors are also generally not sure about the relevance of international law for the way their journals operate. Even so, almost half of our respondents thought the right of individuals being able to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which he or she is the author is relevant for their journal; this is consistent with open access publishing.

Finally, those respondents who are most aware of open access and of the opinion that international laws are relevant for the way journals operate are more supportive of open access publishing. This suggests the possibility that increasing awareness of open access and international law will increase support for open access publishing. This may be an important strategy to follow in bringing about open access to publishing in criminal justice and criminology.

Besides giving us a snapshot of journal editor perceptions of open access, this study may be beneficial in other ways. The survey gave recipients an opportunity to reflect upon major issues in academic publishing facing both authors and those working as journal editors. Some of the recipients may not have considered issues that rise from these questions before and therefore may go forth beyond the occasion of the survey to pursue further knowledge in these areas, thus enriching their own knowledge and understanding of the issues. It is the hope of the authors that the interconnected community of researchers, students, practitioners, scholarly writers, and those working in the publishing and distribution areas related to the disciplines of criminal justice and criminology will also benefit from the findings of this study. The time has come for all members of the scholarly community to grapple with the issues related to authors of scholarship and their publishers. The academic community in criminal justice and criminology can only benefit from a clearer understanding of how journal editors—who are in most cases scholars in the disciplines themselves—regard issues such as author’s rights to archive and distribute their intellectual content and the value of maximizing distribution of scholarship vs. protecting profits of publishers. 

 

Limitations

This study is limited in several important ways. First, although we made an effort to include editors of all relevant journals in our fields of criminal justice and criminology, it was simply not possible to survey editors of all journals in criminal justice and criminology. Further, to some degree, the process of identifying “relevant” journals is a matter of opinion. We chose our journals from the leading indexing sources, eliminating journals that were not directly related to criminal justice and criminology. This process conceivably could have introduced some bias into the findings, although we did not know who edited any of the journals we considered for inclusion in our population.

Second, our response rate of 45% is acceptable for a study of this kind. Yet, we cannot confidently say that the findings of our study are generalizable to all editors of criminal justice and criminology journals. Further, the low sample size makes certain types of analyses impossible, even basic chi-square tests in many cases. Yet, our findings are interesting and tell us a good deal about how the journal editors we surveyed feel about open access publishing in theory and practice. We also hope we’ve identified some important unanswered questions that will lead to further research in the area of open access publishing in criminal justice and criminology, as well as in other related disciplines. We envision further study in this area through surveys and interviews with many more journal editors in various fields.

 

References

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Former board of “Topology” starts a rival journal. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(23), A18.
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http://www.opendoar.org/countrylist.php?cContinent=North%20America#United%20States

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Harnad, S., & Brody, T. (2004). Comparing the impact of open access (OA) vs. non-OA articles in the same journal. D-Lib Magazine, 10(6, June). Retrieved February 16 2007 from: http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june04/harnad/06harnad.html

Kelty, C., Fischer, M., Golub, A., Jackson, J., Christen, K., Brown, M., & Boellstorff, T. (2008). 
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[1] Professor, Department of Government & Justice Studies, Appalachian State University, 2013 Old Belk Library / ASU Box 32107, Boone, North Carolina 28608, USA. Email: robinsnmb@appstate.edu

[2] Associate Professor, Appalachian State University Library, 218 College Street / P.O. Box 32026, Boone, North Carolina 28608 USA. Email: scherlnag@appstate.edu

[3] The CJ journal titles found in DOAJ include: Acta Universitatis Danubius : Juridica (Romania),  African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies (US), AGORA International Journal of Juridical Sciences (Romania 2007), Boletín Criminológico (Spain), Capítulo Criminológico (Venezuela), Champ Penal (France), Crimes and Misdemeanours : Deviance and the Law in Historical Perspective (UK 2007), ERCES : Online Quarterly Review (France), Hoechstrichterliche Rechtsprechung im Strafrecht (Germany), InDret (Spain), International Journal of Cyber Criminology (India 2007), International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences (India), Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture (US), Law, Social Justice & Global Development (UK), Open Criminology Journal  (US 2007), Open Forensic Science Journal (US  2008), Política Criminal (Chile), Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice (Australia 2007), Revista CENIPEC (Venezuela), Revista Española de Investigación Criminológica (Spain) Rivista di Criminologia, Vittimologia e Sicurezza (Italy 2007), Social Justice in Context (US) Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice (US), Studies in Social Justice (Canada), Unbound : Harvard Journal of the Legal Left (US), War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (US), Western Criminology Review (US), Zeitschrift für Internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik (Germany). Those added in 2007 are noted above with a date.

[4] The authors’ open access institutional repository, NC-DOCKS, according to the librarians involved with adding articles to the archive, has made numerous requests to journals on behalf of its authors  for permission to include articles in the IR and has to date received only one denial.  

[5] Search of Criminal Justice Periodical Index, hosted by Proquest.umi.com  June 24, 2010

 

INternational Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Vol 4 Issue 2 July- december 2009

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