Publishing and Open Access Journals

I am now in my third year of my PhD and I have come to realise, over the past few years, that publishing in international, peer reviewed, REF returnable journals is an important part of my future if I am to enter the world of academia. So, in order to be employable I have been working hard to meet the criteria of the jobs I have been applying for and trying to publish in certain respected journals alongside writing up my thesis. Not an easy task and it has been one big learning curve but one that I have been getting to grips with because I have had to and because…. I have now come to quite enjoy writing.

It therefore came as a bit of surprise to me when I learned of the death of Aaron Swartz and his campaign for open access journals where articles can be accessed for free by anyone.

Following on from Aaron’s work is Alex Leavitt who argues that non-open access journals are “outdated, profit-driven models of modern academic publishing companies” which block access and charge fees for knowledge that everyone should be able to access for “the primary purpose of the education system as a whole: to teach and share knowledge with others” . Whilst Alex recognises that some scholars need to publish in closed journals and then free their own writing individually he does not believe that this method will help in changing the status quo and is asking everyone to stop doing this, calling instead for a complete abandonment of this form of publishing (Alex Leavitt’s blog).

Although I truly believe in this argument and would like to, one day soon, publish in open access journals, unlike Alex, I am afraid that publishing in certain types of journals might affect my career. I have applied for a job recently where I wasn’t shortlisted due to not having enough REF returnable papers.

So it got me wondering, what do others in similar positions to me feel?

What are your thoughts and opinions about the open access argument?

How has publishing affected you?

And have you noticed any journals that have changed by binning the restricted access and opening up information for everyone to access? (I know Qualitative Social Work has recently done this following Aaron’s death)

Look forward to hearing from you all.

Jad 🙂