Hall of shame: NZ Sociology Journal.

I’m starting a new series, the NZ Journal Hall of Shame.  This is to highlight NZ academic journals the a haven’t either thought of the option of Open Access, or have and rejected it.  I’m going to critique each example quite hard.

Now, I hear you say, Anton, the NZ Library and Information Journal which you are co-editor doesn’t meet the standards  you set.  And you’re quite right, it doesn’t.  Yet.  It’s something we’re working on, and it means I have some understanding of the difficulties of getting these things right.

I’m entirely up for the editors, contributors and others to comment on these posts, and I hope they do.  I’d like to be convinced that editors have taken considered principled decisions.

So, critique one, the NZ Sociology Journal

The most egregious (to me) thing for this journal is the mismatch between their Whakataukī and their editorial policy.  It’s a great proverb:

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nōnā te ngahere, Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga nōnā te ao.
The bird that consumes the miro berry has the forest, the bird that consumes knowledge has the world.

For a journal that makes absolutely no pretense to Open Access, it is really inappropriate.  it would seem that as long as I’m a tui with sufficient funds to afford the subscription, then I’m allowed the knowledge.

It’s unclear if NZS charges a subscription from any text on their website.  Even if they don’t, their copyright policy ensures that the journal is not Open Access;

All other uses, reproduction and distribution, including without limitation commercial reprints, selling or licensing copies or access, or posting on open internet sites, your personal or institution’s website or open access repository, are prohibited.


A much overlooked requirement for something to be Open Access is the requirement for the work to be reusable.

The Berlin & Bethesda declarations say:

The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship …

Being able to read something for free is not OA.  OA is about setting the work free, so that it can find it’s best possible audience.

The reason I’m so galled (other than the misleading whakataukī) is I had to advise a student that she couldn’t include her own article, published in this journal in her own thesis.  Of course, she can ask for permission, and I suspect they will grant it, but that she has to ask demonstrates the inequity of this policy.

On the upside, the publishing platform they have chosen, informit, is a non-profit, but as they don’t provide DOIs for their articles, I wonder how effective a platform it is, thought they are indexed in SCOPUS.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *