If you’re going to miss a week’s blog and cram two weeks into one, then this is a good place to do it, as Weeks 5 and 6 of LAPIS covered scholarly publishing- including great guest talks.

It's okay to be late so long as you have a cartoon!Picture Source: Caption mine

Though we actually started Week 5 by talking about issues with opening up articles.  These can be searched for via the catalogue- by title, if you know it, or by journal.  If the University has access, you’ll get a link (or links, often via a web bridge) to take you through to it.  For all e-resources*, you need to navigate to it via the Library Catalogue as that’s the only way you’ll get recognised as a City student.  Confusingly, often if you go direct to articles via the web, there will be some sort of Institution login option, sometimes even allowing you to select City University London, but you’ll only get access if you go via the catalogue.*  If you have any questions, you can always email me at work or pester whoever is on the desk; or the e-access team (and here).

Scholarly publishing is an old form of publishing, dating back to medieval times and really getting going with the publication of The Royal Society’s in the 17th Century.  The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers help represent part of the current crop of scholarly publishings in the form of the output of societies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, The Royal College of Nurses and English Heritage- helping them to get a better deal from publishers.  One point that Suzanne Kavanagh raised during her talk on the ALPSP’s work was that of disruption and how open access can help learned societies here.  Indeed they had a seminar on it last week- check out this and #alpspdisruption.

Speaking of Open Access, this was the focus of Week 6 which included a talk from Martin Eve that neatly explained the whole thing.

Sometimes when people talk about paywalls and making things Open Access and journal subscriptions I wonder if it would be better if all libraries were one big chain (or consortia) of libraries- public, private and university all together.  Couldn’t we then just buy one subscription to each journal that everyone would then have access to.  The new copyright laws introduced last year almost puts this in place in that it allows universities to freely print and send articles to one another as Inter-Library Loans, regardless of the publisher’s wishes.  (This kind of happens with physical books in North Wales where they have reduced the cost of Inter-Library Loans by introducing a system of sharing one another’s resources [PDF] – I like to imagine a network of library vans becoming a common sight on the road of Britain, maybe even making it into I-Spy books).

It’s an idea I like the sound of but then it ignores the point of Open Access, doesn’t it?  What about the rest of the world?  Wouldn’t this just turn the country into an information fortress?  But what if this could become the model across the world?  Do libraries have it in their power to force publishers into Open Access through clubbing together to gain journal subscriptions?  Probably not.  There are lots of reasons this wouldn’t work, though I’m not sure what they all are.

* or most – I think all journals, BOB is the only exception to this I know of