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7/21/14 Authors Note: I will be submitting a properly formatted APA version of my article. Isaac made a good case for why JLSC chose to function this way, and while I may disagree and want to press further it is more important to me that I support and respect my colleagues. My fight is against the system, not those of us stuck in it. 

Editor’s note: Isaac Gilman, one of the editors of JLSC, has posted a response: Why we cite (and do other things).

[I never officially introduced myself on the blog, so, hello. I’m Micah. I’ve written some other stuff over here.]


I am very pleased to have just submitted a paper to the Proceedings of the Library Publishing Forum, to be published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. Needless to say, these are both groups that I believe in, support, and generally think are awesome, great, wonderful things that are important parts of my professional life. That said, in submitting my paper I took a careful look at the options presented to me as an author. Here is the cover letter I included with my submission:

This submission is intended for the Proceedings of the Library Publishing Forum. It is based on a panel session, focused on “Alignment with Open Access Publishing Policies.”

Due to the nature of this publication (JLSC) as a web-only journal, I chose to abstain from APA citation style. My doing so is a protest against outdated, irrelevant and unnecessary practices that constrict the flow of information. Rather, I opted to use hyperlinks to all my references, each openly available online, inspiring readers to actually connect with the works that are collected and analyzed in this work. Bibliographic citations, and adherence to a “style,” in my opinion, operates to further entrench a closed-access system where citations are privileged over all other measurements of impact – a system I do not believe in and refuse to participate in. If, for purposes of publication in this Journal, a citation style is absolutely required, I will acquiesce with the agreement that all links in my submission will be live and directed to the source that I chose.

Additionally, I would like to state my personal withholdings about several items in the Article Submission Agreement that I was forced to agree to, before even submitting.

1) I disagree that the “article” includes all supplementary materials. I believe that different materials have different scholarly purposes, and they should not be constricted under one banner for purposes of convenience.
2) This article has been “published” elsewhere; online first as notes from my presentation, and as a pre-print on figshare…. depending how we are defining “published.”
3) I do agree to license my article as CC-BY, but would prefer if this journal offered the option for authors to choose which license they assign, ranging from full transfer of copyrights to public domain. I think this practice would place more responsibility on authors to be mindful and deliberate about their rights to their scholarly products.

Finally, this article is formatted in Open Sans font. Please retain.

I believe in the great work you are doing, but want to make sure we don’t stagnate in our push for a better system of scholarly communication. As iron sharpens iron…

Sincerely, with all respect,

Micah Vandegrift

As I am wont to do, my purpose here is not to ruffle feathers but to challenge standards and expectations that “publishing” exists to serve the publisher, rather than to promote and benefit the author. Even in the best possible publishing scenario – for a journal I love, with Editors I respect immensely, for an organization I am an active part of, under really really great licensing terms – there is still room for growth. I look forward to the day when authors, well-informed, submit their own terms of publication to a journal. Not that it’ll be an easier, more efficient manner of publishing; but I think that would be the better, more productive system of scholars communicating (their research, their desires for its dissemination, their scholarly purposes, etc.) Until then, I will be the ever-present thorn in the side of my dearest and most respectable colleagues – particularly in this case Stephanie Davis-Kahl and Melanie Schlosser. 😉

A preprint [PDF] of the article is here. The living document is online here.

Pre-publication comments on the paper are welcomed; please write your own blog post about it, and link to the preprint DOI.