We are very pleased to transition Locke Studies to an open-access journal that will be preserved in perpetuity. We thank you for your patience and support as we move forward with this.
We had originally planned to house the journal on bepress’s Digital Commons platform. They have a great product. The demo site they made for us was beautiful, crisp and nicely laid out. The data metrics and usage statistics they offer are comprehensive, informative, and beautifully presented (we love the global map with real-time and historic download information). They were absolutely wonderful to work with too. Our customer service contact was professional, helpful, and competent. Scholarship@Western, which is the online publishing service run by our supporter Western Libraries, uses bepress and recommended them highly. We were not disappointed at all by our interactions with bepress.
Unfortunately, within hours of submitting our journal setup form and materials to bepress, it was announced that they had been acquired by Elsevier. Like many in the academic and library community, we did not receive the announcement warmly. Our commitment was to providing open-access to the scholarly community forever and to preserving and making accessible the past issues of the journal. Elsevier does not have a good reputation of supporting open-access and the free exchange of scholarship and ideas. A cynic might think that their foray into the open-access market is designed to slowly strangle bepress (and others) to eliminate competition to their fee-based journals. A greater cynic might think it designed to begin imposing access fees onto the larger open-access repositories, undercutting the publishing model in another way. Yet another might see it as designed to slowly squeeze larger and larger fees from libraries and academic institutions to preserve the open-access to their contents. Although we would have been covered by Western Libraries’ current contract with bepress guaranteeing open-access to Locke Studies for now, the uncertainty surrounding future contracts with bepress and Elsevier’s terrible track record and reputation was enough to convince us to explore alternative options. Better now, we thought, than to need to move in two, three, or five years (after we had digitalized the back issues and established the new publication model) when new contracts were being negotiated and Elsevier might be imposing changes onto bepress. Plus, we would not be upset at not being associated with Elsevier. We worked with Kristin Hoffmann (Western Libraries) and Emily Carlisle (Western) in exploring alternative publishing platforms to bepress.
OJS (Open Journal Systems), run by the Public Knowledge Project, is what we decided to move to. OJS uses open-source software and is managed and run by librarians and academics with a commitment to open-access and long-term preservation of content. The long-term stability underlying their commitment to open-access is a key feature for us. The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) is also an important partner for the Public Knowledge Project. Overall, we are comfortable with their values and commitments toward the production and dissemination of knowledge and scholarship. We also believe that our readers will be more comfortable with the relationship with OJS as well as knowing that their personal account data is housed in Canada by OCUL. The OJS Locke Studies site itself is very attractive and the functionality of the publishing platform is very similar to bepress’s. It is still early for us, but we are pleased with how the platform performs thus far. We are interested to see how OJS’s data metrics and usage statics compare to bepress’s, but we are confident that they will be adequate for our needs.
We hope that you enjoy and value the new format for the journal and will continue to support us in this endeavor!