Gavia Libraria

Another thought on strikes

A fair few academic libraries now have library-local open-access mandates. If nothing else, these mandates give the library a certain amount of useful credibility when preaching the open-access gospel to non-library faculty. “Look,” these libraries say, “we went open access, and lo and behold, the world didn’t end!” It’s a sincere pity that such rhetoric is necessary, but necessary it does tend to be.

What if these same library faculties went one step further? What if each faculty decided on a policy forbidding librarian labor donation (in the usual forms: article submission, peer review, and editorial work) to especially egregious publisher overreachers?

Crafting the criteria for placing publishers on the list and taking them off would not be simple, and should not be inflexible. Perhaps the likeliest route would be by majority or even two-thirds vote of the committee of the whole (which most libraries have, whatever they call it). Perhaps “cure instructions” for the publisher would be voted upon at the same time a labor-donation ban is proposed. Provisions would also have to be placed in tenure and promotion documentation such that librarians eschewing a bad-publisher journal for a good-publisher one of lesser prestige are not penalized.

This seems not entirely unworkable, however, and all the more efficacious if the shame list and the reasons publishers appear on it are made public. What think ye, readers?