The Opportunities And Challenges Of Online Open-Access Publishing

Erik Voeten | The Washington Post | August 25, 2014

This week around 7,000 political scientists will descend on Washington for the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA). (Be forewarned if you plan to spend any time in Woodley Park area cafes or restaurants in the latter part of this week.) The theme of this year’s meeting is “Politics after the Digital Revolution.”  One contribution I (and co-Monkey Cager John Sides) will be making to the discussion  is a panel,  followed by a wine reception, on the opportunities and challenges of online open-access publishing (details at the link and at the bottom of this post).

Together with SAGE, three co-editors in chief (Catherine de Vries, Bernard Steunenberg and Scott McClurg) and a large group of associated editors, I helped launch a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on publishing high-quality short articles quickly: Research & Politics (R&P). The idea is straightforward. Much of political science research could be relevant to policy makers, students, journalists and the educated public. Yet, it is often written up in articles that are too long, obtuse and hidden behind paywalls. Moreover, academics are frustrated by the amount of time it takes to get their research in print and by the limitations print imposes on how analytic insights and data can be presented. Blogs are too short to communicate research findings thoroughly, and they don’t cater to academic incentives, since peer-review is still valued highly (and rightly so)...