20 March 2013

New Migration Journal: Free Content but not OA

The inaugural issue of a new journal, Migration Studies, is now available.  The editors explain the journal's remit in their introductory article, "Faultlines and contact zones: A new forum for Migration Studies."  Contents for vol. 1, no. 1 (March 2013) include a mix of articles, one of which is "When refugees stopped being migrants: Movement, labour and humanitarian protection."

Happily, all articles are freely available, and according to the editors, content will continue to be free to view online until the end of 2014.  That said, if offering free content is recognized as a good thing to do for two years, wouldn't it be even better to go the Open Access (OA) route and offer free content indefinitely - particularly in view of the journal's stated aims of providing "a service to scholarship" and "strengthening dialogue across professional divisions"?  The intro. does hint that other delivery mechanisms might be under consideration:
There is no rush to limit either the scope of our content or the range of production tools we use to deliver it, particularly in light of the rapid rate of change in publishing technology today. We are already adapting to these changes, for example, by reviewing films, databases, websites, and other new-media sources relevant for twenty-first-century migration researchers, practitioners, and teachers—in addition to traditional books. The journal will be free to view online until the end of 2014, and we are developing other ideas for delivering web-based content.
Oxford University Press, the publisher of Migration Studies, does produce a handful of fully OA titles, although its three flagship refugee journals - IJRL, JRS, & RSQ - are not among them.  But other periodicals in this field of study have opted for OA, in varying degrees:
- Forced Migration Review has always been OA;
- Conflict and Health is an OA journal from BioMed Central;
- Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees recently became fully OA;
- International Review of the Red Cross has always been freely available in full-text on the ICRC site, but recently production, distribution and marketing were outsourced to Cambridge University Press;
- Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict is delayed OA, with the full-text of its issues posted online 12 months after publication.

Maybe the recent announcement from the American Anthropological Association that Cultural Anthropology will go completely OA in 2014 will help start a trend among scholarly social science journals.  As the journal's editor notes in this Chronicle for Higher Education article, "'We’re producing articles that come out of the intellectual commons, and we hand them over to presses who sell them back to us... . That’s been a strong moral issue for a lot of anthropologists that I’ve spoken to'. [As is] the desire to make research 'freely available to people anywhere in the world,' not just those affiliated with universities that can afford journal subscriptions, he said."

Tagged Periodicals.

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