Friday, July 13, 2007

A Case Study of Online Publishing at CJC-Online: Experiences, Insights, and Considerations for Adoption


Michael Felczak (School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada)
Rowland Lorimer (Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing,
Simon Fraser University, Canada)
Richard Smith (
School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Presented on: July 13, 2007 at 9:40am in SFUHC Sauder Industries Policy Room

~Click for abstract~

~Blogger’s commentary~

The CJC (Canadian Journal of Communications) experience is certainly worthy of note, in terms of its contribution of valuable insights into various issues related to scholarly online publishing.

First of all, in describing the motivation and early stages in moving CJC online, Richard Smith touches on the economics involved in scholarly publishing and sees online publishing as a way to deal with increasingly high prices of periodicals. Although we understand the incentive behind the publishers’ intent to protect their own economic interests, when journal costs become less and less affordable, educational institutions must seek alternatives to protect their own scholarly interests as well as the public’s intellectual rights to access knowledge. The CJC example contributes to increasing that accessibility to knowledge for every one of us, and perhaps also to decreasing just a little bit of that monopoly granted to publishers through copyright law.

Michael Felczak then relates the happy tale of moving all the CJC issues online, as well as the challenge of writing a custom code within the OJS framework. Fortunately, through collaborative efforts, both tasks were accomplished. Currently, everyone with an internet connection can access all of CJC’s issues, and their custom code is in itself a commendable contribution to the Open Access movement, since their code can also be of use to other journals requiring similar functionalities for the system.

Finally, Rowland Lorimer mentions the possibility of cooperation between the commercial sector and the public sphere. These two can attempt to balance the interests of each sphere by working together, so that the tragedy of the commons as well as that of the anti-commons can be avoided. Rowland Lorimer also recognizes the importance of looking at access models and market realities in publishing today. Various access models are out there today, whether it be delayed open access or partial open access, and this diversity only means that the innovation or creativity element is significant in the expansion of Open Access. As we cannot ignore the realities of the publishing industry, the non-profit or academic sector must find innovative solutions to achieve the aim of making knowledge public, while finding workable ways around the legal, economic, moral and epistemological issues.

~Summary of Presentation~

1) Motivation, First Steps, Early Challenges (Richard Smith)
- interested in online publishing because of curiosity, desire to find an alternative (to continually rising serials pricing), extendability (i.e. new options for delivery) and possibility
- DIY online publishing: first steps involved converting SGML to HTML but this was not a sustainable method because it required a lot of manual work, and conversion routes were never reliable
- the team found a community alternative in PKP/OJS

2) Transition to and Participation with OJS (Michael Felczak)
- moved to OJS in February 2004
- at time of import, 12 volumes online (1993-2003), with 3-4 issues in each volume
- OJS import tool requires XML description of volumes/issues/articles: fortunately this info was already in the database, making it so much easier to export data into XML format and begin using OJS
- within a year, back issues vol. 1-15 (1974-1990) were scanned, with help from SFU library (scanning into PDF format)
- today, all back issues are online and open access (currently Vol 31)
- some functionalities were missing at the time, but custom code was later written within the OJS framework. These functionalities included:
a) enter individual or institutional online subscriptions;
b) post announcements to keep in touch with readership;
c) allow graduate students to submit thesis abstracts
- custom code can also benefit community/journals with similar needs

3) From Production to Publishing (Rowland Lorimer)
- production is not the same as publishing; production is the foundation for publishing
- non-profit publishing model: emphasis on the scholarly record, with peer review as essential element

Example: Nature
- has an editorial identity, an existence beyond simply the summation of its articles
- has a publishing vision: how the journal is presented to the world, such as what is presented on the cover, giving it a “planned public face”
- important to look at market realities, which is another word for your “readership”, so it is essential to think about the market and how you present yourself to your readers

Issues to consider in Online Journal Publishing
- human resources: cannot depend only on one person to ensure things run smoothly
- infrastructure: server farms are more reliable than one single server
- enriched production: once the journal is online, it is possible to add other forms of media (such as sound, video, etc.)
- looking at access models & publishing realities

We can also consider strategic cooperatives for online knowledge dissemination through the libraries, editors, and even through commercial sectors where they are people interested in cooperating with the non-profit sector.

Online Public Knowledge Infrastructure
- authors and journal producers and publishers
- journal repositories and provisioners: library systems and library acquisitions
- aggregation and metacontent: tools and marketing e.g. Synergies)
- emergent: a Public Knowledge Infrastructure
- coda: from patents to copyright, as there is much valuble intellectual property that we want to keep in the public domain through public sector cooperatives

~Info on the Presenters~
Profile: Michael Felczak, Rowland Lorimer, Richard Smith
ACT Lab » Michael Felczak

studies in technology & society – Richard Smith

~Related Links~
Canadian Journal of Communication (CJC)
School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, Simon Fraser University

1 comment:

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