Readersforum's Blog

March 27, 2013

Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing ‘crisis of conscience’ after death of Aaron Swartz

Publishers demanded $2,995 for each open-access article

By Russell Brandom

In a dramatic show of support for the open access movement, the editor-in-chief and entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration announced their resignation last week. In a letter to contributors, the board singled out a conflict with owners over the journal’s licensing terms, which stripped authors of almost all claim to ownership of their work.

In a blog post after the resignation, board member Chris Bourg cited her experience of “a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access” in the days after the death of Aaron Swartz. The board had worked with publisher Taylor & Francis on an open-access compromise in the months since, which would allow the journal to release articles without paywall, but Taylor & Francis’ final terms asked contributors to pay $2,995 for each open-access article. As more and more contributors began to object, the board ultimately found the terms unworkable.

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