Editors View the Continuous Publication Model as a Satisfactory Alternative for Open Access LIS Journals
AbstractA Review of:
Cirasella, J., & Bowdoin, S. (2013). Just roll with it? Rolling volumes vs. discrete issues in open access library and information science journals. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 1(4). http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1086
Objective – To understand the prevalence of, motivations for, and satisfaction with using a rolling-volume publishing model, as opposed to publishing discrete issues, across open access academic journals in library and information science.
Design – A 12 question survey questionnaire.
Setting – English-language, open access library and information science (LIS) journals published in the United States of America.
Subjects – A total of 21 open access LIS journals identified via the Directory of Open Access Journals that were actively publishing, and that also met the authors’ standard of scholarliness, which they established by identifying a journal’s peer-review process or other evidence of rigorous review. Based on responses, 12 journals published using discrete issues, while 9 published as rolling volumes or as rolling volumes with some discrete issues.
Methods – In late 2011, the study’s authors invited lead editors or primary journal contacts to complete the survey. Survey participants were asked to identify whether their journal published in discrete issues, rolling volumes, or rolling volumes with occasional discrete issues, with the latter two categories combined as one for ease of results analysis. Survey logic split respondents into two groups, either discrete-issue or rolling-volume. Respondents in both categories were posed similar sets of questions, with the key difference being that the questions directed at each category accounted for the publication model the journals themselves identified as using. Editors from both groups were asked about the reasons for using the publication model they identified for their journal: within the survey tool, authors provided 16 potential reasons for using a discrete-issue model, and 13 potential reasons for using a rolling-volume model. Respondents from both groups were asked to mark all reasons that applied for their respective journals. The survey also included questions about whether the journal had ever used the alternate publishing model, the editor’s satisfaction with their current model, and the likelihood of the journal switching to the alternate publishing model in the foreseeable future.
Main Results – The authors collected complete responses from 21 of the original 29 journals invited to participate in the study, a response rate of 72%. For the 12 journals that identified as using discrete issues, ease of production workflow (91.7%), clear production deadlines (75.0%), and journal publicity and promotion (75.0%) were the three most common reasons for using a discrete-issue model. For the nine journals using rolling volumes, improved production workflow (77.8%), decreased dependence on production deadlines (77.8%), and increased speed of research dissemination (66.7%) were the three most common reasons cited for using a rolling-volume model.
Findings show that overall satisfaction with a journal’s particular publication model was a common factor regardless of publishing model in use, though only the rolling-volume editors unanimously reported being very satisfied with their model. This high satisfaction rate is reflected in editors’ positions that they were very unlikely to switch away from the rolling-volume method. While a majority of editors of discrete-issue journals also reported being very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current model, the mixed responses to whether they would contemplate switching to the alternate model suggests that awareness of the benefits of rolling-volume publishing is increasing.
Conclusion – Researchers discovered a greater incidence of rolling-volume model journals with open access LIS journals than anticipated, suggesting that this is an area where additional research is necessary. The relative newness of the rolling-volume model may be a contributing factor to the high satisfaction rate among editors of journals using this model, as journal editors are likely to be more deliberate in selecting this model over the traditional discrete-issue publishing model. Workflow and production practices were identified as key characteristics for selecting a publishing model regardless of the model selected, and therefore this is another area in need of further investigation.
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