13 November 2013

Reflections on the Forced Migration Information Landscape: Scholarly Research

Following on from yesterday's post: In addition to grey literature, I also track scholarly research, which is usually reported in the form of academic journal articles.  While these materials are generally available online in full-text, they are not free, and therefore require someone (either you or an academic library!) to pay some kind of fee to access them.  This situation is changing, though, as a result of the Open Access (OA) movement. I've already written a lot about OA on this blog, so if you aren't familiar with the topic, please take a look.  You can also read Peter Suber's book on Open Access, which was published by MIT Press in July 2012 and conveniently became OA itself just recently!

Although I can't quantify the trend, I think it's fair to say that forced migration authors are increasingly making their academic journal articles Open Access in two ways:

1) By publishing in OA journals (referred to as the "Gold" route to OA).  Just this year, Forced Migration Review (FMR), which has always been freely available, took further steps to underline its OA character by adopting a CC license and indexing its articles in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ); Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, originally a traditional print publication, transitioned to being an entirely open access electronic journal; and Refugee Review was launched by the New Scholars Network as a fully OA, peer-reviewed journal.  Many forced migration authors are also writing for OA journals in other fields, such as health, law, and migration (see, e.g., the health-related titles published by BioMed Central).

2) By publishing in traditional journals of their choice and depositing eprints of their manuscripts in an OA repository (referred to as "Green" route to OA), either Institutional Repositories (where you can also find many of the ETDs I mentioned in yesterday's post) or subject repositories like the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).  In 2013 alone, I referenced 25 eprints of articles that were published in a variety of law reviews and other social science journals, and six eprints of chapters from recently published or forthcoming books.

In the interest of examining the OA habits of forced migration researchers more closely, I plan on updating a case study I did in 2010 on the self-archiving rates of Journal of Refugee Studies authors.

Tagged Publications and Periodicals.

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