Publication Date

November 1, 2012

The AHA's social media spaces (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) feature the latest news in the history profession. The debate on open access, initially sparked by the recent AHA Statement on Scholarly Journal Publishing, attracted much feedback and comment across our social media platforms. The AHA continues to welcome discussion on the hot topic. A sampling of reactions captured on our social media spaces is printed below; we hope the conversations will continue and grow:

Comments on Open Access

Open AccessOffering a comparative look at successful open access journals, Trevor commented on AHA Today: “I am glad that the AHA is thinking about Open Access. With that said, I am rather disappointed with the nature of these questions. In 1991, ArXiv launched as a pre-print platform for the sciences. In 1994 the Social Science Research Network launched as a platform for social scientists to share pre-prints. These, among others, have become vibrant ways for scholars to share publications before they are ever printed in journals, open access or otherwise.” Larry, also on AHA Today, wrote: The AHA could make an important first step (and generate tremendous goodwill) by putting the full run of its journal online for free”, while Edmund, commenting on LinkedIn, wrote: “My suspicion and hope is that eventually, we bypass the journals entirely. Academic groups could readily secure cheap and efficient server space, allowing scholars to post up essays for wide peer review, with recognized experts in their field able to review and post comments publicly. Lesser established scholars could then offer comment and critique as well.”

Comments on the Author Pay Model

The author pay model discussed in the AHA statement provoked a generous amount of discussion, including: Ryan, commenting on Facebook, "I would agree with the consensus that it is unfair and alarming to ask authors to pay for publication; yet, as someone who works in publishing I'm a bit frustrated with the inability of the scholarly community to come up with plausible alternatives."@BenjaminHarwood tweeted: "Requiring authors to pay the costs of their own publications is not the answer." David, commenting on Facebook responded: "The pay-to-play model advocated by the Finch report sounds perfectly beastly" and @smithangj tweeted: "Wow. Finch Report suggests authors pay? That's not good. Good for AHA."

Other Criticisms of the AHA Statement

Several excellent points directly related to the points discussed in the AHA Open Access Statement were brought up by AHA followers, including: Joseph, commenting on AHA Today: “This response only addresses one proposed business model, and ignores the fact that most open access journals do not require publication fees. See, for instance, the Directory of Open Access Journals, which lists 224 history titles, only 4 of which require fees.” @swarthmoreburke tweeted: “The Finch Report is the best red-herring escape hatch for academics uneasy about open-access.”

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Vanessa Varin is the AHA's web content editor.

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