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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. 

Signatories

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, University College London

Margit Averdijk, University of Zurich

Lorena Avila, Rutgers University

David Ayeni, Georgia State University

Bethany Backes, University of Central Florida

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

Steven Berman, Regis University

Wim Bernasco, NSCR

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

Scott Bowman, Texas State University

Anthony Braga, Northeastern University, ASC Fellow

John Braithwaite, Australian National University, ASC Fellow

Iain Brennan, University of Hull

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

Gian Maria Campedelli, University of Trento, Italy

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

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

Vijay Chillar, Rutgers 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 / 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

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

Grant Drawve, University of Arkansas

Kathryn DuBois, Washington State University

Robert Duran, Texas A&M University 

Frank Edwards, Rutgers University

Henk Elffers, NSCR

Patricio Estévez-Soto, UCL Department of Crime Science

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

Alondra Garza, Sam Houston State University 

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, University of Illinois Chicago

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 

Evelien Hoeben, NSCR

Meghan Hollis-Peel, Ronin Institute

Tamara Humphrey, University of Victoria

Jordan Hyatt, Drexel University 

Jonathan Intravia, Ball State University

Stefan Ivanov, University at Albany, SUNY

Shannon Jacobsen, Drexel University

Scott Jacques, Georgia State University

Michael Jenkins, University of Scranton 

Ingrid Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

Thaddeus Johnson, Georgia State University

Cheryl Lero Jonson, Xavier University

FM Jonrd, University of Central Oklahoma 

Robert Kane, Drexel University

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

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

Laura King, Boise State University

David Kirk, University of Oxford

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

Gary LaFree, University of Maryland, ASC Fellow

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

A.M. Lemieux, NSCR

David Letts, Newark Police Department 

Katherine Limoncelli, John Jay College

Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard, NSCR and University of Amsterdam

Nathan Link, Rutgers

Yu-Hsuan Liu, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Nicholas Lord, University of Manchester

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 

Meghan Mitchell, University of Central Florida

Ojmarrh Mitchell, Arizona State University

David Mitre Becerril, University of Pennsylvania

Kim Moeller, Malmö University

Emily Moir, Griffith University

Asier Moneva, 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, 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

Kathleen Powell, Drexel University

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

Tasha Ramirez, Georgia State University

Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University 

Brianna Remster, Villanova University 

Luc Robert, Ghent University & NICC

Jennifer Roberts, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Sean Patrick Roche, Texas State University

Eric Rodriguez-Whitney, Northeastern University

Emmanuel Rolon, ITAM

Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri-St. Louis, ASC Fellow

Kim Rossmo, Texas State University

Zachary Rowan, Simon Fraser University

Amanda Rude, Sam Houston State University

Vincenzo Ruggiero, Middlesex University

Stijn Ruiter, NSCR

William Sabol, Georgia State University

Matheson Sanchez, Georgia State University

Jose Sanchez, University of Colorado Boulder

Lacey Schaefer, Griffith University

Jaclyn Schildkraut, SUNY Oswego

Joseph Schwartz, 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

Jon Shane, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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, NSCR

Alex Stevens, University of Kent

William Stone, Texas State University

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

Lisa Tompson, University of Waikato

Volkan Topalli, Georgia State University

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

Frank Weerman, NSCR

Steve van de Weijer, NSCR

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 

Mark Winton, University of Central Florida

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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