I have nothing against journals charging for content. While I like the open access model I think that there are upsides to both systems. But seriously, there really are some things that should not be hidden behind a pay wall.
- Corrections of any kind: Errata, Corrigenda, etc. Assuming that I don’t have access to The Journal of X through my institution and I choose to purchase a paper from said journal that ends up containing an error, should I really have to pay again to find out what that error is. It’s like buying a new car that breaks down 6 months later and having to pay for a whole new car to get it fixed.
- Society business: Announcements, calls for nominations, etc. Presumably the goal of this sort of thing is to reach as wide an audience as possible… right?
- Acknowledgement of Reviewers: And now we come to the thing that triggered this post. PNAS’s Table of Contents showed up in my feed reader last night, and there, right at the top, was their annual Acknowledgement of Reviewers. I review for PNAS on occasion and thought I take a brief moment and go look at my name for a little boost during the grind of grant writing season. But no, sorry, I was working at home and so ran firmly into a pay wall. Seriously. So if I review for your journal, but don’t have a subscription then I can’t even look at an acknowledgement of my own, volunteer, activities. Sigh.
Now I know that in many cases the journals don’t intentionally put these sorts of things behind their pay walls. They just don’t think about it, but if you are going to have pay walls in place, isn’t it really your job/responsibility to think (ever so briefly) about what content you hide behind them?
UPDATE: Theoretical Population Biology’s Reviewer Acknowledgment just showed up in my reader. If you don’t have a subscription to TPB you can check out this document for the low, low, bargain price of $31.50.