March 15, 2004
UC addresses academic publishing crisis by offering
faculty alternatives for publishing research
By Jennifer Colvin
California Digital Library
To address the economic unsustainability of high pricing for scholarly
journals, the University of California is providing alternatives to
the traditional scholarly communication model through the eScholarship
program at the California Digital
"The eScholarship Repository opens new publishing opportunities--the
publication process is cheap, and we can get working papers out
more quickly than we would with hard copy.
--Ben Crow, associate professor of sociology
and associate director of UCSC's Center for Global, International
and Regional Studies
Now, UC faculty in all departments, research units and centers can
use the eScholarship Repository to provide free, open access to peer-reviewed
Since 2002, the eScholarship Repository has offered UC faculty a central,
online location for depositing working papers, technical reports, research
results and conference proceedings from a wide range of disciplines.
Scholars around the world have benefited from the free access to this
faculty research. With the eScholarship Repository's new peer-review
capability, UC faculty have an alternative to publishing their research
in for-profit journals, whose rising costs have become a burden to universities
and libraries with shrinking budgets.
The first peer-reviewed journal in the eScholarship Repository is San
Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, published by the John Muir
Institute of the Environment at UC Davis.
Other peer-reviewed materials in the eScholarship Repository include
papers and edited volumes from the UC International and Area Studies
The California Digital Library (CDL) expects the number of peer-reviewed
papers and journals to grow substantially in coming months, with the
addition of scientific monographs and other content from the University
of California Press, as well as new journals sponsored by departments
at several UC campuses, including InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education
and Information Studies.
Additionally, Comitatus, a 34-year-old journal sponsored by
the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, will be migrating
to the eScholarship Repository this spring.
"We're pleased to see the eScholarship Repository being used in
such innovative ways," said Catherine Candee, director of scholarly
communication and publishing initiatives. "Scholars are seeing
their research disseminated quickly and widely through the repository.
"The open-access journals are only the newest tools that are helping
to facilitate the creative and wide use of scientific literature. Upcoming
features this spring include support for seminar series and a universitywide
With key support provided by the CDL, the University of California
has been drawing attention to the growing crisis in scholarly communication
and developing sustainable options for the dissemination of research.
As UC faculty and others have joined the movement speaking out against
the high cost of many scholarly journals, the eScholarship Repository
has seen its numbers grow to nearly 2,600 papers and more than 400,000
downloads of content since its inception.
For example, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego has
experienced an enormous increase in the use of its working papers over
the past year. As of February 2004, the center's papers had been downloaded
13,899 times, an increase of 1,000 percent over the short time the papers
have been available.
Ben Crow, an associate professor of sociology at UCSC, has also seen
the benefits the eScholarship Repository has provided for the Center
for Global, International and Regional Studies. "The eScholarship
Repository opens new publishing opportunities--the publication process
is cheap, and we can get working papers out more quickly than we would
with hard copy, said Crow, associate director of the Center for
Global, International and Regional Studies.
"Plus, we get clear feedback about how often the papers are viewed.
We have 20 downloads or more per month for many of our papers, which
makes it worthwhile."
The eScholarship Repository is a project of the California
Digital Library's eScholarship program at the University of California,
which was launched to facilitate innovation and support experimentation
in the production and dissemination of scholarship.
The California Digital Library
supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the University
of California libraries and the communities they serve. Established
in 1997 as a UC library, the California Digital Library has
become one of the largest digital libraries in the world.
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