Open Access Academic Journals in Journalism and Mass Communication

A few weeks ago, danah boyd posted an excellent rant urging professors to fight the knowledge cartels otherwise known as the high-profit-margin industry of academic publishing by taking our work to open-access journals, thus breaking “the corporate stranglehold over scholarly knowledge in order to make your knowledge broadly accessible.”

I already commented on her post with my agreement and thoughts, but it occurred to me that I didn’t really know much about open-access journals in my field. Quite possibly I’m an idiot for not already knowing this, but part of the problem is that I’m not a publishing machine like some in my cohort. But I polled some smarter folks than I and I’m posting a list here. If you know more, holler in the comments.

Open Access Journals in Journalism and Mass Communication

International Journal of Communication

Journal of Computer Mediated Communication

First Monday

M/C Journal

Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication

JOMEC (Journalism, Media, Cultural Studies)

Web Journal of Mass Communication Research

Thanks to Amy Schmitz-Weiss, Josh Braun, Sue Robinson, Matt Carlson, Nikki Usher, Hans Meyer and Chris Anderson for their input on this list.



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6 responses to “Open Access Academic Journals in Journalism and Mass Communication

  1. bboessen

    Great idea. I wonder if this kind of thing exists for media studies….

  2. Thanks Carrie for putting this list together and including Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication. I’m going to explore some of the others I had not heard of…

  3. I find it fascinating that some rant about the myopic vision of those within print journals. I have done so myself for many years. I am editor of an online academic journal, myself. What is equally interesting, however, is the tendency on the part of many with academia to be blind to all other disciplines. My area of research is academic publishing itself. I consider this part of mass communications (my chosen restriction zone). However, I also know that many in my field don’t consider the journals I publish in to be “real” because they do not include the words “mass” or “communication” in their title. We are all a bit short-sighted at times.

    I would add that all journals will be online very soon (with some stubborn exclusions). What I think is being referred above is “born online” journals, a very different species. May I suggest that this list is biased to journalism and not inclusive of mass communications? For instance, Interactive Advertising is a born-online journal. Many others exist. I guess we will have entered the online age when we stop chatting about born-online versus not-born-online.

  4. Thomas, I’m not quite clear what you are talking about. The journals above to happen to be online, but that’s incidental to the larger point, which is that they are open access. This means that anybody in the public can read them for free. Most traditional academic journals charge about $25/article. If you have additional open access journals to suggest please do so; as I noted in the post, I am welcoming additional ideas.

    • Yes, but cost is not the only issue (though, I will admit it is an important one). If all you think about is cost, then online journals seem to solve the issue. But, the biggest issue remains: why have an academic journal at all? Why not just publish directly to a university’s e-reserve? Consider that the average university prof (much less a member of the public) doesn’t think, oh, JMCQ’s new issue has arrive! Let’s sit with a nice cup of tea and give it a read! Researchers look by topics and search terms, not by journal. In fact, I would be willing to wager that you’ve never included a journal’s name in a search, even though we (or at some of “we”) still think some journals are better than others. The delivery system has shifted out from under academic journals, but, loyal sheep that we are, we still persist in thinking that only the best research appears in only the best journals. Keep in mind that Einstein’s T of R didn’t appear in a “best” physics journal. We can, I believe, make up our own minds as to whether a bit of research is sound, without mommy and daddy (academic journals) telling us.

      But I digress. You were concerned that I was missing the point. No, I edit an online, open access journal. I like doing so. But I know that it is not long for this world. Journals (print or online) are the delivery model of yesterday.

      Given the inherent flaws of journals with their nasty peer review process, and it is not hard to imagine a world sans JMCQ. We will replace peer review with something far better because the sexist, racist, elitist, criminal, and incompetent system we have endured is no longer sustainable.

      What faces us is not that we can publish in open access journals, it is that we must take the next step and devise a way to help faculty publish with an open, unbiased, non-anonymous review system that also provides the editorial support vital to publishing. Yes, we have open access journals. Now we need open access, reliable, and accurate publishing.

      • changingnewsroom

        Well, yes, I agree, it’s just a little beyond the scope of what I was trying to do with this particular post. I think the CONCEPT behind peer review is good, but yes, in practice, it has become a deeply flawed system that does not reward original thinking. Krugman did a nice piece on that awhile back: Personally, I’d rather blog my findings and have a robust online discussion and critique of them. However, I don’t really have a choice about publishing if I want to keep my job, at least until I get tenure. But I do think open access is the next best thing.

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