Issues

Scholars Losing Control of the Process 

The publishing system, as it stands now, forces faculty to sign away rights to their scholarship in exchange for publication. When this happens, scholars who want to place their own articles on a personal web site, in a course pack, or to distribute copies to colleagues must request permission from the publishers.

Why is this important for the scholarly community and for Mount Mercy in particular?

One of the primary goals of publishing is to share scholarship and initiate conversations. This goal is intertwined with Mount Mercy’s Mission Statement, which says:

"Strategic communication requires selecting from a range of options in order to accomplish a chosen goal in an ethical manner. These options include construction and interpretation of messages in the written, oral and aesthetic forms using appropriate technology” and “Because  persons are social by nature, every individual’s good relates necessarily to the common good.”

Both future research and the current exchange of information for the common good are most effective with greater access to current scholarship. 

Open access articles offer greater impact than those behind subscription barriers. This is true of research, but it also is true of student education, especially at a smaller institution like Mount Mercy, where resources dictate that database and subscription access will be limited compared to a larger institution.

Faculty Members Concerned About Tenure and Promotion 

In academe, tenure, promotion, and in many cases, respect, are tied to publishing in recognized journals.

Why is this important for the scholarly community and for Mount Mercy in particular?

Respected journals usually are owned by large high-profit corporations and often charge higher prices than scholarly societies. However, some scholars hesitate to submit their work to open access publishers because they are concerned about the reputation of new journals.

The success of open access initiatives ultimately rests in the hands of faculty who need to see the benefits of such a system and the problems with the prevailing model. Libraries and other institutions can only do so much.

Open access allows more people to discover work quickly, use it in their own research, and cite it, which increases the impact factor.

Significant Increases in the Cost of Journal Prices 

Journal prices have increased considerably for the past twenty years. Some primary publishers aggregate or “bundle” electronic content, meaning that they offer only pre-determined “all of nothing” packages of journal titles. At the same time, there is a continued trend of mergers and acquisitions between commercial publishers, which often lead to higher journal prices.

Why is this important for the scholarly community and for Mount Mercy in particular?

Library budgets have not increased at the same rate as journal prices, and in many cases have been cut. Busse Library in particular does not have the resources to maintain full and current access to all of the resources it would like to provide.

Libraries like Busse lose the ability to tailor our collection to the needs of our community as a result of these trends. We also commit more money to fewer relevant resources.

The prevailing model gives away rights to research so that universities, through the library’s budget, can buy it back. This is not a sustainable model.