LINGUIST List 15.2354

Sat Aug 21 2004

Disc: New: Open-Access Journals/Ling Publishing

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  • 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 centers. 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 Leipzig