librarian publication

Can librarians change the publishing model by starting within their own?

I have been working on an article for Serials Review which required me to contact several different consultants who work with libraries, publishers, and vendors. While I was conversing with October Ivins, a thought came to me. We were talking about some of the issues surrounding publishing and pricing, and more specifically about alternative models such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative and the efforts of SPARC. She is of the opinion that alternatives like open access will not happen unless an entire organization or society agrees to follow the new model of publishing.

Her logic makes sense, and it got me thinking about which group should take the initiative and start changing the way they went about scholarly communication. Then it hit me: Why don’t librarians do this first? We’re the ones who are complaining the loudest when publishers like Elsevier dominate the market and dictate pricing. We should be the leaders marching forward to change the way publishing works in the digital age! And then, I realized the irony of my proposal having come from a conversation I had while writing an article for an Elsevier publication.

When I was asked to write this article, I knew who published the journal. It gave me a few twinges, but I couldn’t turn down the offer. Not when this was a chance for a rookie librarian to get published in an internationally recognized journal! However, this is exactly the mentality that perpetuates the problems we are currently facing in scholarly communication. I don’t have a solution, and I don’t know if I ever will. I do know that in the future I will try to be conscientious about where I publish my contributions to the profession, but it won’t be easy.

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