Editor-in-chief Damon Jaggars and the whole editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration resigned en masse on March 22 over the journal’s licensing terms.
On the following day, the board sent an email to prospective contributors explaining their decision, explaining that “a large and growing number” of authors have pushed back on the terms, including several who refused to publish, and have repeatedly requested a Creative Commons license instead. (Jason Griffey, one of the authors who provided that push back, detailed his experience and applauded the board’s decision.)
Brian Mathews, who received the email, quoted it as saying, “After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2,995 per article fee to be paid by the author. As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community, who are generally not conducting research under large grants.”
The board hasn’t made any public statement, but Chris Bourg, one of the board members, explained her own motivation for participating. She also Tweeted, “I really feel that we gave [Taylor & Francis] a chance to work toward a decent model, but they wouldn’t bend.” Jaggars posted to Twitter that Taylor & Francis “worked with us in good faith. They can’t yet see past their current model to address the evolving expectations of LIS authors.”
For more on this story, see Six Questions with Damon Jaggars, former JLA Editor-in-Chief.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tracy Roberts, the editorial director of journals at Taylor & Francis, told the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Our License grants significant reuse rights to authors (pre-prints, non-embargoed post-prints, sharing, classroom use, presentation at conferences, republication in existing or new form), whilst we ask only for a sole license over the published version of record… There seemed to be a misunderstanding and some sort of conflation of the different licenses that Taylor and Francis is offering,” Ms. Roberts said.
However Danny Kingsley, Executive Officer of the Australian Open Access Support Group, doesn’t see it that way. According to Kingsley, among the terms are that authors not only may not deposit the publisher’s version of the paper in their institutional repository, they may only put the post-peer reviewed and corrected version into the repository 12-18 months after publication. Adding on the time between acceptance and publication, it may take two to five years from when the research was done before it is made open access.
In addition to Jaggars, Associate University Librarian for Collections & Services at Columbia University, the board was also composed of:
- Kristin Antelman, Associate Director for the Digital Library, North Carolina State University
- Chris Bourg, Assistant University Librarian for Public Services, Stanford University
- Lisa German, Associate Dean for Collections, Information & Access Services, Penn State University
- Fred M. Heath, Vice Provost & Director of Libraries, University of Texas at Austin
- Paula T. Kaufman, Dean of Libraries & University Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Deanna B. Marcum, Managing Director, Ithaka S+R
- Sarah C. Michalak, Associate Provost & University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services & University Librarian, Columbia University
- Ann J. Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The International Editorial Board included Makoto Nakamoto, Administrative Library Director, Waseda University; and Stephen Town, Director of Information & University Librarian, University of York.
This is not the first time an editorial board has resigned en masse, or even the first time in the library world: In 1998 most of the editorial board of the Journal of Academic Librarianship resigned over the issue of subscription prices. Several of the editors who resigned then created Portal: Libraries and the Academy at Johns Hopkins University Press. Such a move is often followed by creating an Open Access journal. However, no such announcement has been made in this case.