Friday, November 25, 2011

Publishing,copyright, and pay walls...

The MobiMOOC research team has been working on our third paper, further analyzing aspects of MOOCs, and MobiMOOC in specific.  Our forthcoming paper tackles the topic of emotive language usage in MOOC discussions as a predictor of continued, or future, participation in the course. We are currently in the process of going over and refining the paper, but I don't want to give away the punchline before it's done in its totality :-)

In any case, I've taken the lead on this project to see which journal we can publish our findings in.and I have found a journal whose theme is online learning and asynchronous networks, which fits in with MOOCs and MOOC pedagogy (although, to be honest I don't know how much MOOC pedagogy there is out there...perhaps something to put our heads together about). Anyway, I was looking over the author submission guidelines to see what sort of format they wish to have us submit our paper in terms of citations, footnotes* and text formatting; and here is where I noticed that we, the authors, have to (explicitly) hand over copyright to the journal in order to have it published. The journal is also behind a pay-wall which is another consideration.  My previously published work required neither transfer of copyright, nor were there paywalls.

This gave me pause for thought.  I am interested (as is the MobiMOOC research team) in having this paper published, but I am not sure if I want my work to be behind paywalls and not retain copyright.  I get the feeling that this is the norm in academic publishing, but it doesn't really sit right.  What do fellow academics think?  I am relatively new to this, I just have a couple of articles published, and I don't have a PhD yet, so I'd like to hear back from more experienced people out there who've been in the game longer. Is the lure of a big name journal justification to put aside your philosophical stance on open publishing?  With the exception of IRRODL and JOLT, are there open access journals that you'd recommend?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Issues?

* note to journal editors: please bring back the footnote...informational (and other) footnotes are awesome, no need to get rid of them because we're online! :-)
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