Open access journal profile: Theological Librarianship 2012-08-20


“The program schedule for the American Theological Library Association’s [ATLA] 2007 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA listed a roundtable discussion: ‘Theological Librarianship: A New Online Journal...’ The prospect that ATLA would have its own peer reviewed publication for professional and scholarly communication was exciting. Thankfully, re-reading the report on the roundtable in the Summary of Proceedings (Volume 61, 2007, pp. 231-232) brings back to mind many of the discussion topics... The report concludes: ‘Judging from how many of the attendees expressed an interest in contributing to the journal in some way, and from the caliber and variety of good ideas brought forward, it is evident that there is a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding this new project. The editors look forward to following up over the coming months...’ The inaugural issue of Theological Librarianship: An Online Journal of the American Theological Library Association(ISSN: 1937-8904) was launched in June 2008. The focus and scope of the journal is outlined in the front matter of the first issue: ‘Theological Librarianship publishes essays, columns, critical reviews, bibliographic essays, and peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of professional librarianship in the setting of a religious/theological library collection (whether or not that collection comprises the entire library collection). The primary intended audience includes professional librarians in colleges, universities, and theological seminaries and others with an interest in theological librarianship in those settings. The purpose of the journal is to support the professional development of theological librarians; contribute to and enrich the profession of theological librarianship; contribute to and enrich theological and religious studies; and to serve as the official publication of record for the American Theological Library Association.’ Theological Librarianship is published twice a year (July and December) by the American Theological Library Association utilizing the Open Journal Systems platform. The journal has a well-established Editorial Team, which works in consultation with ATLA’s Publications Committee, and is served by an Advisory Board. The journal site provides clear Submission Guidelines... Journal contents are published utilizing a Creative Commons “Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works” license... Articles and bibliographic essays are reviewed using double-blind peer review... ATLA provides a basic budget for the journal, including modest stipends for the Editorial Board, infrastructure support (server space and software maintenance), and a layout editor... The journal was going to be published online using an open source platform as a cost consideration. Co-editor David Stewart indicated a concern that making the journal subscription-based would have driven down interest. “ATLA wanted to have a more direct channel to potential readers.” The fact that the journal would be easily distributed to and accessed by the ATLA membership, and freely read by other interested persons, was seen as a consequential benefit of this approach... ‘I would surmise that what is true for our journal at this point is true for many others as well: there’s been a certain amount of collective ‘consciousness-raising,’ and the lines have been drawn more clearly between traditional publishing models and OA. In other words, 2007-08 turned out to be a propitious time to be launching an open access journal, in ways we didn’t appreciate fully at the time...’ it wasn’t until the third issue (Vol 2, No 1, 2009) that an article by Kevin Smith entitled, ‘Open Access and Authors’ Rights Management: A Possibility for Theology?’ (PDF, pp. 45-56) actually raised and then delved into the concept of open access as a topic for serious reflection and purposeful action. It was Smith’s article that introduced me to the idea that theological librarians, associations, and institutions might embrace a ‘task of building an ‘open access culture’—a phrase that continues to served as an inspiration for this blog... I asked Stewart what he and the other members of the editorial team have learned along the way, now thatTheological Librarianship is in its fifth year of publication... We now know first hand that in many ways it is not that complicated or expensive (at least on Open Journal Systems) to launch a journal. We have also learned something about our community—how many of them want to write for the journal! It is fair to say that the ‘ideological’ benefits of open access have become more clear as the journal has gotten up and running. The recent event in Durham [see my ‘Into the Open: Transitions in Journal Publishing’ (moderated discussion at Duke University)] was something of an eye-opener. There is a growing disenchantment with traditional publishing. We are part of a much bigger shift in publishing, and (somewhat to our surprise) some who are considering the open access option view us as a ‘model’ of what the process looks like—and are asking for our advice. We sense that we are part of someth



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 18:50

Date published:

03/21/2012, 15:26