Pressure to publish and TA journal delays make OA journals look good

Melissa Gregg, Damn the publishers, The Australian Higher Education, May 27, 2009.  (Thanks to Colin Steele.)  Excerpt:

How much longer can Australian universities accept the lack of outlets to publish research in this country? The Excellence in Research for Australia [ERA] initiative will make publishing outcomes more important than ever….

Scholarly publishing for unknown authors is in a state of almost complete lock-down. Leading professors will tell you it’s been that way for years….

The ERA emphasis on quality and quantity bears no realistic relationship to the opportunities that are available to the majority….

The situation is nothing short of alienating. The highlight of the job – getting published – has become an exercise in minimising losses from poor odds.

If emerging scholars were actually consulted about the changes affecting their prospects, they’d testify that open access journals with effective peer review systems already demonstrate alternatives to this model. Aside from the worldwide exposure it offers research, the great benefit of online publishing is its speed. It allows young academics to contribute to their field in a timeframe that can match today’s steep requirements for employability….

Comment.  Note that the January 2009 draft guidelines for the ERA research assessment program expect that most research articles will be deposited in OA repositories.  (I don’t know whether this expectation made it into the final version of the guidelines.)  Apparently that deliberate, direct support for green OA has been supplemented in practice by inadvertent, indirect support for gold OA, as scholars like Gregg discover that the delays at conventional TA journals hinder their career advancement under the new rules.