Philip Cohen has a post up on his blog about how we can use ASA paper awards to push sociology towards open access, and specifically towards SocArXiv. Go read it to find out more about the initiative – and specifically, to find good sample award text that your section could easily modify and implement. The original SocArXiv announcement is here, including details on how SocArXiv will provide up to $400 towards an award winner’s travel if your section opens up the award. In addition to encouraging every section to seriously consider this proposal, I want to suggest two alternative ways that sections can promote open access if, for some reason, the SocArXiv plan is not acceptable.
1. SocArXiv Submission System: To make things easy, and to be eligible for the SocArXiv funds, the full SocArXiv proposal can be quickly implemented in the call for award submissions, and Philip has great sample text:
Submissions are made by posting the paper on SocArXiv and sending a link to the paper to the committee chair, Philip N. Cohen, at email@example.com. To submit your paper, go to SocArXiv.org, and click “Add a preprint.” If you don’t yet have an account, you will fill out a short form — it’s free, non-profit, and won’t spam you! For assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the FAQ page. Please indicate whether you would like your paper to be included in a public list of submissions (this will not affect your chances of winning). The winner will receive a plaque and travel reimbursement up to $400 to attend the 2018 Family Section reception at the ASA meetings.
2. Open Access Requirement: Suppose, for whatever reason, you don’t want to make SocArXiv your home for award submissions. You still have other options for promoting open access! You could adopt a provision similar to the ASA dissertation award rules: “To be eligible for the ASA Dissertation Award, candidates’ dissertations must be publicly available in Dissertation Abstracts International or a comparable outlet. Dissertations that are not available in this fashion will not be considered for the award.” Modifying it a bit, you could add to your call for submissions:
To be eligible for the Section Award, candidates’ papers must be publicly available in SocArXiv or a comparable open access repository. Papers that are not available in this fashion will not be considered for the award.
The easiest implementation would be to check to make sure that the winning paper is available publicly, and to require authors to make it available before finalizing the award.
3. Open Access Encouragement: Finally, if you’re unwilling to require open access, you can at least encourage it. Work in Progress does this in its style guide, encouraging authors to link open access versions of the paper their post is based on: “Since WIP is a public sociology blog, we encourage authors to make a non-paywalled version of their paper accessible to readers. If your paper is not already available somewhere on the internet, we recommend uploading a preprint of the published article to SocArXiv, an open access repository for working papers and pre-publication versions of published papers.” A slightly modified prompt – as part of the call for submissions, the form response to submissions, or the notification to award winners, could look like this:
We encourage authors to make a non-paywalled version of their paper accessible to readers. If your paper is not already available somewhere on the internet, we recommend uploading a preprint of the published article to SocArXiv, an open access repository for working papers and pre-publication versions of published papers.
This encouragement would require no change in by-laws or even the call for submissions, but could still serve as a nice nudge towards open access.
If you have any questions about SocArXiv or the award proposal, let me know! Our steering committee is happy to come answer questions at your section council or business meeting.