postheadericon Open access – the International Journal of Communication

Initially, when I read “open access,” my mind went to “open source” and incredibly useful computer software. I don’t know why I felt that was relevant to this blog post, but I typed it out anyway. So there.


The International Journal of Communication, a scholarly, peer-reviewed Communication discipline journal, published by the University of Southern California (USC) and its Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and its Press.

According to its website, located here:     , the IJC is “an online, multimedia, academic journal that adheres to the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from anywhere around the world.”

While Communication is its primary focus, it is an interdisciplinary publication that welcomes communication-related research from other fields, including psychology, sociology, philosophy, computer informatics, other social sciences and humanities. it fancies itself as “open and welcoming to contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that meet at the crossroads that is communication study.”

It does have its own code of ethics….:

“The International Journal of Communication (IJoC) aspires to select and publish, through peer review, the highest quality research in communication studies. In order to achieve this goal, the entire peer review and publication process should be thorough, objective and fair. Journal reputation depends heavily on the trust by all stakeholders in the fairness of the peer review and publication process. An important role of the publisher is to support the extensive efforts of the journal editors, and often unsung volunteer work undertaken by peer reviewers in maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record. It is a tribute to scholarly practice that the system works well and problems are comparatively rare. The publisher has a supporting, investing and nurturing role in the scholarly communication process and is also ultimately responsible for ensuring that best practices are followed.”

….as well as its clearly-defined mission statement…:

“USC Annenberg Press is committed to excellence in communication scholarship, journalism, media research, and application. To advance this goal, we edit and publish prominent scholarly publications that are both innovative and influential, and that chart new courses in their respective fields of study. Annenberg Press is among the first to deliver journal content online free of charge, and devoted to the wide dissemination of its content. Annenberg Press continues to offer scholars and readers a forum that meets the highest standards of peer review and engages established and emerging scholars from anywhere in the world.”

…… and finally, an Open Access Policy:

“Open Access enables authors to obtain the maximum possible exposure for their work. Freely available papers are read more, cited more, and have more impact than ones available only to paid subscribers. As an experiment, enter a research topic into a search engine like Google and see how many links you obtain to papers published in traditional journals. You will find that most references are to working papers, not to published papers, because working papers are freely available. The advent of the web has made free dissemination of research feasible and financially viable. Because existing specialty journals obtain revenues from selling subscriptions, primarily to libraries, access to the research they publish is limited. The attractive revenue stream that such subscriptions provide makes it unlikely that these journals will convert to Open Access. Thus a need exists for new refereed Open Access journals to replace existing journals. We believe that the establishment of a major Open Access journal in communication study will lead others to establish Open Access journals for many sub-fields and specialities in communcation, reclaiming full control for the profession of its research output. We hope that this will lead the profession to a new norm in which all research is freely available.”

Communication, while its own discipline, has interdisciplinary roots, and most, if not all, other disciplines have some communication element within it. This publication welcomes all studies from other disciplines that focus on that communication element. It seeks research and articles that are innovative and influential, and break new ground in their respective disciplines while advancing the existing knowledge base of the communication discipline.

While the publication has a clear Open Access policy, putting access to knowledge above turning a profit on subscriptions or per-article-purchases. The element of cost is restrictive, and the IJC does not believe, according to its OA statement, knowledge should only be available to those that can afford it. In line with the ultimate goal of a free and open-accessed Internet, the journal’s content is digital, and free, and sees itself as a trailblazer. If one journal allows free access, and that access is taken up and cited and referenced more so than the traditional subscription-based journals, that exposure will encourage other journals to follow suit.

…my battery is about to die, so I’m signing off for now. I may  revisit this later if anyone cares to comment.

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