Ludicrously closed access; or how to alienate readers and look foolish

It started with a post the liblicense mailing list, announcing a new journal entitled the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship. The journal, the post said, was published by the Haworth Press (a subsidiary of Taylor & Francis since its acquisition last year). The inaugural issue had been released, according to the announcement, and it appeared to include an article on open access (Ross Singer, “Opening Up Access to Open Access”), so I wanted to check out the article to see if it was something worth posting at OAN.

Oddly, the post pointed to a Web site for the journal which is run on the Open Journal Systems platform — software designed for open access journals. This was odd for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t know Haworth published OA journals (and the announcement didn’t refer to the journal as OA)
  2. The Web site actually contained no OA content (although the inaugural issue had been released)

My confusion was resolved upon determining that the journal is not, in fact, OA. (I’m still not clear what the point of the OJS site is.)

So I searched for the article, to see if it was available from the Haworth site or if it had been self-archived by the author. Google did find a link on the Haworth site (I’d link to the DOI handle, but it doesn’t resolve), but the article isn’t available OA; in fact, not even an abstract is available. Google didn’t find a self-archived version of the article. It did seem to find a Web site for the author, although the site doesn’t point to a copy of the article or even mention it. Nor could I find a copy in the apparent author’s institutional repository (nor any other papers by the author). Since the article’s from a library-related journal, I tried E-LIS, but again, nothing by the author.

So apparently there are no OA versions of the article available, or even an abstract. But the announcement noted that a complimentary copy of the inaugural issue was available. I emailed to request a copy, and eventually received a reply:

Can you please send me your mailing address?

Having little interest in waiting several more days (at least) to get my hands on the article, I replied:

Can you send me an electronic copy?

And, can you believe it — here’s the response from T&F:

We do not have electronic copies available. You can only view the journal online if you already have a subscription. Sorry for any inconvenience.

In summary: neither gold nor green OA; no abstract; and the sample issue is available in print form only. For an article about open access!

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