Category: OSC Galway Editorial mass resignations: Collective action in the movement to open research

Editorial mass resignations: Collective action in the movement to open research

January 10, 2024

Recent times have witnessed a number of high profile mass resignations of journal editorial boards, with editors rejecting the conditions of (in)accessibility and commercial profit underlying their existing publishers.

In this Open Research Conversation, we hear from key participants in this growing mode of collective action. Johan Rooryck, now of Plan S, was editor-in-chief at the hybrid Elsevier journal Lingua before resigning to establish the OA alternative Glossa. Judith Green edited and co-edited Critical Public Health between 2010-2023 before a mass resignation to found a new journal on an open source platform, and Chris Chambers was among the editorial team at NeuroImage who resigned in protest against publisher profiteering in April 2023. From different disciplinary contexts, these scholars share their overlapping experiences of the pursuit of equity, openness and academic freedom in publishing, examining the potential of collective action and open access alternatives to provide a corrective to publishing oligopolies.

Judith Green: The Editorial Board of Critical Public Health, a Taylor & Francis owned journal, resigned en masse in July 2023 to start a new journal on an open source platform. The editorial team had for some decades managed the tensions between curating a home for a community of scholars and contributing to a commercial product, as discussed in an earlier editorial. However, corporate requirements for standardisation of processes, pressures to increase page volume, and an APC model of cost recovery for open access had eroded our ability to maintain the ‘spirit’ of the journal. The fate of the new journal will test whether evoking a ‘community of scholars’ or ‘the spirit of a journal’ is mere nostalgia, in a market where readers access papers not journals.

Judith Green is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures & Environments of Health at the University of Exeter. She was Editor or Co-Editor of Critical Public Health between 2010-2023.

Chris Chambers: When enough is enough – my experience of being part of the collective editorial resignation from NeuroImage, and what happened next.

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