January 4th, 2012
|“…time to switch…”
A very old light switch (2008) by RayBanBro66 via flickr. Used by permission (CC by-nc-nd)
The journal Research in Learning Technology has switched its approach from closed to open access as of New Year’s 2012. Congratulations to the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and its Central Executive Committee for this farsighted move.
This isn’t the first journal to make the switch. The Open Access Directory lists about 130 of them. In my own research field, the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) converted its flagship journal Computational Linguistics to OA as of 2009, and has just announced a new open-access journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Each such transition is a reminder of the trajectory that journal publishing ought to head.
The ALT has done lots of things right in this change. They’ve chosen the ideal licensing regime for papers, the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. They’ve jettisoned one of the largest commercial subscription journal publishers, and gone with a small but dedicated professional open-access publisher, Co-Action Publishing. They’ve opened access to the journal retrospectively, so that the entire archive, back to 1993, is available from the publisher’s web site.
Here’s hoping that other scholarly societies are inspired by the examples of the ALT and ACL, and join the many hundreds of scholarly societies that publish their journals open access. It’s time to switch.