Scholarly Journals between the Past and the Future by Martin Rundkvist.

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PDQ SubmissionRundkvist, M. 2007. Scholarly Journals between the Past and the Future: The Fornvännen Centenary Round-Table Seminar, Stockholmm 21 April 2006. Konferenser 65. Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien.

It’s a meas­ure of the qual­ity of this book that I have delayed put­ting up a review until I have thought it could get the audi­ence it deserves. The volume brings together papers by nine edit­ors of journ­als across Europe, each with their own per­spect­ive on what the future holds for pub­lish­ing. Their opin­ions are diverse and pro­voc­at­ive, but even where some asser­tions are demon­strably wrong they high­light mis­con­cep­tions about pub­lish­ing which need to be tackled.

The first paper is ‘Scholarly Open Access Journals and Libraries’ by Jan Hagerlid. This can be an over­looked aspect of the Open Access debate, with aca­dem­ics con­cen­trat­ing on the con­tent rather than the medium. Hagerlid raises some inter­est­ing points high­light­ing that the aims even of of tra­di­tional and con­ser­vat­ive schol­ars do not neces­sar­ily align with those of pub­lish­ers. For example he notes that the trans­ition to elec­tronic sub­scrip­tion would have mean the end of the inter-library loan, had the pub­lish­ers been gran­ted what they deman­ded. He also argues that it would be wrong to treat pub­lish­ers as a mono­cul­ture. The big pub­lish­ers and their habit of bund­ling sub­scrip­tiosn with ever increas­ing prices threatens the sub­scrip­tion base of the inde­pend­ent journ­als. If the sub­scrip­tion model con­tin­ues to hold into the cur­rent cen­tury many smal­ler pub­lic­a­tions will either be bought out or dis­ap­pear. The paper provides an excel­lent sum­mar­ies of what Open Access means and why it is an import­ant issue. It also serves as a reminder that the changes ahead, how­ever they develop, are not trivial and will need col­lab­or­a­tion with lib­rar­i­ans if access of any sort to research is to con­tinue.
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