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Open Letter to the American Society of Criminology Concerning Access to Its Journals: Make It Legal for Authors to Immediately, Publicly Share the Accepted Version of Their Manuscripts

Published onOct 19, 2020
Open Letter to the American Society of Criminology Concerning Access to Its Journals: Make It Legal for Authors to Immediately, Publicly Share the Accepted Version of Their Manuscripts
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We are writing with respect to the American Society of Criminology’s journals, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Criminology & Public Policy.1 Their self-archiving policy prohibits authors from sharing the accepted version of their manuscripts, or “postprints,”2 for a period of 24 months on all publicly accessible websites.

This policy is in conflict with the Society’s Purpose & Objective and Code of Ethics. It directly opposes free and open access to knowledge; hinders the study of crime and social control; impedes exchange and cooperation among stakeholders; shrinks the forum for disseminating criminological knowledge; thwarts public discourse on findings and dissemination of them; and, forbids a key countermeasure to social injustice. 

Therefore, we ask the Society to revise the journals’ self-archiving policy. It should be legal for their authors to immediately share their postprints on any website.

The change poses no legitimate danger to the Society’s revenue from licensing its journals to a publisher.3 Actually, the change will increase citation of the journals, increasing their value.4 We recognize that the journals are under contract with Wiley. This letter’s goal is not to retroactively change the current contract, though that would be ideal. The goal is to shape the future; to ensure that the next contract is better for the Society and its stakeholders.

In what follows, we begin with background information that informs this letter. This includes a description of two types of open access, “gold” and “green,” followed by how the Society’s journals compare to other criminology journals in green open access. We conclude with a call to action. 

An Open Society 

The free and timely sharing of information and knowledge are pillars of science, democracy, and social justice. The Society informs scientific discourse on crime and social control. It is a leader in that regard. Among other ways, it performs this important role by supporting its two journals. These publications provide an evidence-base to all stakeholders: scholars, policymakers and practitioners, journalists, and the public at large. 

A problem facing the Society is the tradeoff between providing open (i.e., free) access to its journals and generating income from licensing them to a publisher. By licensing them to a publisher, the journals are paywalled, which reduces their and the Society’s impact. By “impact,” we do not simply mean citations and downloads. We mean influence on public discourse. 

Costly Gold Open Access 

The Society’s journals are not the only ones paywalled, of course. All of criminology’s top journals are the same.5 These journals are referred to as “hybrid open access.” The default is to paywall works therein, but authors can purchase “gold open access” to make the publisher version free for everyone to read. Currently, the APC for a Criminology article is $3,300; for Criminology & Public Policy, it is $3,100.6 At those prices, few authors can afford to make their works gold access. It is not a tenable solution. 

Free Green Open Access 

A better option is “green open access.” It entails the public sharing of postprints.7 Green access offers numerous benefits: (1) enables paywalled journals to maintain their business model; (2) provides authors a legal and free way to publicly share their work; (3) facilitates engagement with scholarship among all stakeholders; (4) increases impact; and, (5) serves social justice.8 

Green access does not require radical change to academia or publishing. Already, every major publisher has one or more green access policies. The best ones permit the fastest and widespread sharing of scholarship. At many criminology journals, authors may immediately share their postprints on many websites.9 Other criminology journals allow immediate sharing on authors’ personal websites, but not others. The worst policies are those that embargo sharing postprints on all websites. 

Green Access at the Society’s Journals 

The Society’s journals have the most restrictive green access policy of any criminology outlet.10 Authors are prohibited from sharing on any website for 24 months after publication of the final article.

The policy is bad for the Society, its journals, their authors,11 and all other stakeholders. Because many people cannot afford paywalled access to the journals, the embargo impedes their timely consumption of scholarship and ability to engage in public discourse. Consider that for articles published from 2017 to 2019, only 11% and 26% of works in Criminology & Public Policy and Criminology, respectively, are publicly accessible.12

The Society’s Purpose & Objective is in conflict with the policy. It hinders criminological scholarship, research, education, and training (2.1.3.2); impedes scholarly, scientific and practical exchange and cooperation among those engaged in criminology (2.1.3.3); and, shrinks the forum for the dissemination of criminological knowledge (2.1.3.4). 

Also, the Society’s Code of Ethics is at odds with the policy. It is contra members’ commitment to free and open access to knowledge (II.7); public discourse on findings (II.7); disseminating their research findings (III.A.15); and, contractually prevents them from promoting social justice (II.5). 

Call to Action

In line with the Society’s mission and ethics, we call on it to be a leader in green access. The society should work with its current publisher, or next publisher, to revise the journals’ self-archiving policy.

The new policy should make it legal for the journals’ authors to immediately share their postprints on any website.

Does the Society have the power to answer this call to action? Yes.

By doing so, will the Society increase its impact and better serve stakeholders? Yes. 

Properly negotiated, should it cost the Society anything? No.

We urge the Society to make this change, which will greatly benefit science, democracy, and social justice. 


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First Name

Last Name

Affiliation

Carolina

Agoff

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Andrea

Allen

Criminology Open and Clayton State University

George 

Anderson

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Martin

Andresen

Griffith University and Simon Fraser University

Barak

Ariel

Hebrew University and Cambridge University

Matthew

Ashby

Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College London

Margit

Averdijk

University of Zurich

Lorena

Avila

Rutgers University

David

Ayeni

Georgia State University

Nina

Barbieri

University of Houston Downtown

Tim

Barnum

Max Planck Institute 

Josh

Beck

Georgia State University

Jacob

Becker

Oakland University

Laura

Bedford

Deakin University

Popy 

Begum

Rutgers University-Newark

Craig

Bennell

Carleton University

Colleen

Berryessa

Rutgers University

Lorenz

Biberstein

Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Riane

Bolin

Radford University

Brenda

Bond-Fortier

Suffolk University

HERVE

BORRION

University College London

Lisa

Bostaph

Boise State University

Martin

Bouchard

Simon Fraser University

Noemie

Bouhana

University College London

Bobby

Boxerman

University of Missouri - St. Louis

Anthony

Braga

Northeastern University, ASC Fellow

John

Braithwaite

Australian National University, ASC Fellow

Ryan 

Broll

University of Guelph

Kevin

Buckler

University of Houston-Downtown

Brett

Burkhardt

Oregon State University

Callie 

Burt 

Georgia State University

Calli

Cain

Florida Atlantic University 

Paolo

Campana

University of Cambridge

Joel

Caplan

Rutgers University

Brianna

Caprio

John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center

Krystlelynn

Caraballo

Georgia State University

Alison 

Cares

University of Central Florida

Kerry

Carrington

Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Jeremy

Carter

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

Vania

Ceccato

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Katarzyna

Celinska

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Aaron

Chalfin

University of Pennsylvania

Steven 

Chermak

Michigan State University

Kyung-Shick 

Choi

Boston University

Sarah

Chu

John Jay College of Criminal Justice/ CUNY Graduate Center 

Silvia

Ciotti

EuroCrime - Research, Training & Consulting

Ronald

Clarke

Rutgers University

Todd

Clear

Rutgers University, ASC Fellow

Ellen G.

Cohn

Florida International University

Nathan

Connealy

John Jay College of Criminal Justice / The CUNY Graduate Center

Eric

Connolly

Sam Houston State University

Eric

Cooke

Sam Houston State University

Danielle

Cooper

University of New Haven 

Heith

Copes

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Francis

Cullen

University of Cincinnati, ASC Fellow

Theodore

Curry

University of Texas at El Paso

Dean

Dabney

Georgia State University

Sarah

Daly

Saint Vincent College

Jane

Daquin

University of Alabama 

Andrew

Davies

Southern Methodist University

Lynnea

Davis

George Mason University

Alaina

De Biasi 

University of California Davis Firearm Violence Research Center

Stephen

Demuth

Bowling Green State University

Michael

DeValve

Bridgewater State University 

Timothy 

Dickinson

University of Texas at El Paso

Stephanie

DiPietro

University of Iowa

Mary

Dodge

University of Colorado Denver

Beidi 

Dong

George Mason University

Joseph

Donnermeyer

The Ohio State University

Brendan

Dooley

Mount St. Mary's University (MD)

Grant

Drawve

University of Arkansas

Kathryn

DuBois

Washington State University

Robert

Duran

Texas A&M University 

Frank

Edwards

Rutgers University

Jamie

Fader

Temple University 

Chantal

Fahmy

University of Texas at San Antonio

Chelsea

Farrell

University of Rhode Island

Averi

Fegadel

Arkansas State University

Ben

Fisher 

University of Louisville 

Bryanna

Fox

University of South Florida

Camilla

Friis

University of Copenhagen

Owen

Gallupe

University of Waterloo

Kathryn

Genthon

Virginia Commonwealth University

Adam

Ghazi-Tehrani

University of Alabama

Matthew

Giblin

Southern Illinois University

Michael

Gibson-Light

University of Denver

Sheena

Gilbert

University of Nebraska Omaha

Charlotte

Gill

George Mason University

Lily

Gleicher

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

Elizabeth

Groff

Temple University

Jessica

Grosholz

University of South Florida

Susila

Gurusami

UIC Criminology, Law, & Justice

Cory

Haberman

University of Cincinnati

Carter

Hay

Florida State University

Susan 

Hayes

University of Portsmouth

Howard 

Henderson

Texas Southern University

David

Hetu

Université de Montréal

Tarah

Hodgkinson

Griffith University 

Meghan

Hollis-Peel

Ronin Institute

Jonathan

Intravia

Ball State University

Stefan

Ivanov

University at Albany, SUNY

Shannon

Jacobsen

Drexel University

Scott

Jacques

Georgia State University

Thaddeus 

Johnson

Georgia State University

Ingrid

Johnson

University of Alaska Anchorage

FM

Jonrd

University of Central Oklahoma 

Jacob 

Kaplan

University of Pennsylvania

Lila

Kazemian

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Erin

Kearns

University of Alabama

Tyler

Keller

Rutgers University

Jay

Kennedy

Michigan State University

Bitna

Kim

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Nicole

Kinbarovsky

none

Keron 

King

The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago 

Laura

King

Boise State University

Pallie

Koehn

George Mason University

Debi

Koetzle

John Jay College

Stuti

Kokkalera

Sam Houston State University

Alex

Knorre

University of Pennsylvania

Kelsey

Kramer

Sam Houston State University

Charis

Kubrin

University of California - Irvine, ASC Fellow

Kiseong

Kuen

George Mason University

Justin

Kurland

University of Southern Mississippi

Sarah

Lageson

Rutgers University

Renee

Lamphere

UNC Pembroke

Charles

Lanfear

University of Washington

Julia

Laskorunsky

University of Minnesota

Brian

Lawton

John Jay College

Peter

Lehmann

Sam Houston State University

Paul

Leighton

Eastern Michigan University

Katherine

Limoncelli

John Jay College

Marie Rosenkrantz

Lindegaard

NSCR/ University of Amsterdam

Yu-Hsuan

Liu

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Nicholas

Lord

University of Manchester, UK

Daniel

Lytle

North Carolina Central University 

David

Maimon

Georgia State University 

Aili

Malm

CSULB

Dennis 

Mares

SIUE

Christopher

Marier

Appalachian State University

Shadd

Maruna

Queen's University Belfast

Mike

Maxfield

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

David 

May

Mississippi State University

Evan

McCuish

Simon Fraser University

David

McDowall

University at Albany-SUNY, ASC Fellow

Karen

McElrath

Fayetteville State University 

Edmund

McGarrell

Michigan State University

Jean 

McGloin

University of Maryland

Danielle

McGurrin

Portland State University

Danye 

Medhin

Georgia State University

Juanjo

Medina

University of Seville

Josh

Meisel

Humboldt State University

Gorazd

Mesko

UM-FCJS

Kimberly

Meyer

Central Connecticut State University

Monica

Mielke

University of Pennsylvania

Toniqua

Mikell

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Jody

Miller

Rutgers University, ASC Fellow

Glen 

Mills 

Public Safety 

Ojmarrh

Mitchell

Arizona State University

Meghan

Mitchell

University of Central Florida

David

Mitre Becerril

University of Pennsylvania

Kim

Moeller

Malmö University, Sweden

Emily

Moir

Griffith University

Asier

Moneva

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)

Christopher

Mullins

Southern Illinois University

Nicole

Myers

Queen's University

Elias

Nader

University of Baltimore

John

Navarro

Sam Houston State University

Mirlinda

Ndrecka

University of New Haven

Michael 

Newman 

University of Queensland 

Justin

Nix

University of Nebraska Omaha

Robert

Norris

George Mason University

Seyvan 

Nouri

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Andrew

Novak

Department of Criminology, George Mason University

Meghan

Novisky

Cleveland State University

Montana

Nowak

Georgia State University

Marisa

Omori

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Meg

Osborn

CUNY Graduate Center/John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Marie 

Ouellet

Georgia State University

Kathleen

Padilla

Arizona State University

Troy

Payne

University of Alaska Anchorage

Rebecca

Paynich

Curry College

Anthony

Peguero

Virginia Tech

Gohar

Petrossian

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Alexa

Piacquadio

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Justin

Pickett

SUNY-Albany 

Nathan

Pino

Texas State University

Alex

Piquero

University of Miami & Monash University, ASC Fellow

Eric

Piza

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jeremy

Porter

CUNY

Ráchael

Powers

University of South Florida

William

Pridemore

University at Albany - SUNY

David 

Pyrooz 

University of Colorado Boulder 

Kenneth

Quick

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jerry 

Ratcliffe 

Temple University 

Brianna

Remster

Villanova University 

Luc

Robert

Ghent University & NICC, Belgium

Jennifer

Roberts

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Eric 

Rodriguez-Whitney 

Northeastern University

Richard

Rosenfeld

University of Missouri-St. Louis, ASC Fellow

Kim

Rossmo

Texas State University, School of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Zachary

Rowan

Simon Fraser University

Vincenzo

Ruggiero

Middlesex University, UK

Stijn

Ruiter 

NSCR

William 

Sabol 

Georgia State University

Matheson

Sanchez

Georgia State University

Jose

Sanchez

University of Colorado Boulder

Lacey

Schaefer

Griffith University

Joseph

Schwartz

College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Florida State University 

Jacqueline

Scott

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Christine

Scott-Hayward

California State University, Long Beach

Eric

Sevigny

Georgia State University

Rita

Shah

Eastern Michigan University

John

Shjarback

Rowan University

Tayler

Shreve

American university 

Aiden

Sidebottom

University College London

Michael

Sierra-Arévalo

University of Texas at Austin

Ian

Silver

Rowan University

Lee

Slocum

University of Missouri - St. Louis

Kelly

Socia

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Meridith

Spencer

Fisher College

Jack

Spicer

University of West England

Wouter

Steenbeek

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)

Alex

Stevens

University of Kent

Danielle

Stoneberg

West Virginia University

Mercer

Sullivan

Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

Lucia

Summers

Texas State University

Raymond

Surette

University of Central Florida

Victoria

Sytsma

Queen's University

Jason

Szkola

John Jay College

Christine

Tartaro

Stockton University

Angela

Taylor

Fayetteville State University

Maria

Tcherni-Buzzeo

University of New Haven

Cody

Telep

Arizona State University

Amanda

Thomas

John Jay College

Rob

Tillyer

University of Texas at San Antonio

Natalie

Todak

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Volkan

Topalli

Georgia StateUniversity

David

Topel

Graduate Center- CUNY

Jillian

Turanovic

Florida State University

Matthew

Valasik

Louisiana State University

Jace

Valcore

University of Houston-Downtown

Christophe

Vandeviver

Ghent University

Michael S.

Vaughn

Sam Houston State University

Mateja

Vuk

University of Hertfordshire

Courtney

Waid-Lindberg

Northern State University

Sara

Wakefield

Rutgers University

Jeffery

Walker

University of Alabama, Birmingham

Xinting

Wang

Sam Houston State University

Jessica

Warner

Miami University

David

Weisburd

George Mason University, ASC Fellow

Ralph

Weisheit

Illinois State University

William

Wells

Sam Houston State University

Andrew

Wheeler

HMS

Rainey

White 

Georgia State University

Margit

Wiesner

University of Houston

Jason

Williams

Montclair State University

James

Windle

University College Cork 

Michelle

Wojcik

University of Cincinnati

Scott

Wolfe

Michigan State University

Kevin

Wolff

John Jay College

Mark

Wood

Deakin University

Richard

Wright

Georgia State University, ASC Fellow

Amarat

Zaatut

Temple University

Sheldon

Zhang

University of Massachusetts Lowell

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