LINGUIST List 15.2354

Sat Aug 21 2004

Disc: New: Open-Access Journals/Ling Publishing

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. Martin Haspelmath, Disc: New: Open-access Journals and Lingustics Publishing

Message 1: Disc: New: Open-access Journals and Lingustics Publishing

Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 16:12:58 +0200
From: Martin Haspelmath <>
Subject: Disc: New: Open-access Journals and Lingustics Publishing

I'd like to propose a discussion on the LINGUIST List about
open-access journals and the future of linguistics publishing. Here
are a number of predictions and claims. I would welcome reactions to
these. Independently of whether I'm right or not, I think that these
issues need to be discussed widely.
PREDICTION 1: Journal articles will increasingly be accessed
electronically; most printed scientific journals and photocopying will
have disappeared in about ten years' time. (This does not apply to
books, of course, and these will remain important in linguistics.)
PREDICTION 2: Journal articles that are not (or not widely) available
electronically will be increasingly less influential, because fewer
and fewer people will take the extra trouble to go to the library
stacks and get a photocopied version.
PREDICTION 3: More and more open-access linguistics journals will be
created, i.e. freely available journals like "Linguistic Discovery"
(, "Creolica"
(, or "Constructions"
( These are
much easier to set up than new print journals, and they significantly
reduce overall publication costs. (See for a
comprehensive list of open-access journals from all fields.)
PREDICTION 4: The big science publishers will be tempted to fight
against the open-access publishing trend, just like the music industry
is fighting the file-sharing trend. (However, this is not such a big
issue in linguistics, because linguistics is a small field, and big
commercial publishers like Elsevier, Kluwer and Routledge are not the
most important linguistics publishers.)
CLAIM 1: Maximizing open-access journals is in the interest of
science, because publishers' services such as marketing and
distribution are increasingly irrelevant in the era of electronic
publishing. Technical support for electronic publishing can be
provided at a reasonable cost by university libraries and computing
CLAIM 2: Archiving electronic publications will not be technically
more difficult or more expensive than archiving print publications.

QUESTION: What would we lose if we gradually abandoned the traditional
copyrighted journals in favor of (rigorously peer-reviewed)
open-access journals?

Here are a few links concerning open-access publishing in science:

Looking forward to the discussion,

Martin Haspelmath
Dept. of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue