The Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research is now completing its transition to an open access journal published by Stockholm University Press, thus transferring the cost of publishing from the reader to the author (or the author’s institution). On behalf of the Nordic Network of Disability Research I congratulate the journal, its editors, the publisher, and last but not least, its readers, on this occasion. I also want to express our gratitude to Taylor & Francis Ltd, who have hosted the journal in years past, both for their good work and the commitment they have shown. We are also very happy that all previously published articles in the back catalogue will be available as open access papers with this transition.
This address is mainly focused on the significance of becoming an open access journal. Disability research and disability studies are interdisciplinary fields, and in every respect academic disciplines as scientific as anyone else. The foundation for our work consists in seeking and expanding knowledge in our field, applying methods which observe common standards meant to secure norms like reliability and the possibility of verification. At the same time, one cannot fully appreciate the significance of disability research and disability studies without recognizing that other normative questions concerning social justice, equal rights, access and accessibility permeates studies in this field. This is why our decision to move to open access publishing is significant.
Open access publishing is neither charity nor well intended help to unfortunate people who cannot afford to subscribe to journals. Instead open access publishing is a business model for publishing, and as such, it must be sustainable in competitive economies. Hence, we would not have chosen open access publishing if we did not believe this is the business model for the future. Having said this, open access publishing is also a business model which ensures and promotes social justice, equal rights, access and accessibility in a much better way than traditional publishing models: Once a paper is published, it can be accessed and read by anyone because the publishing cost is transferred to the author, or the author’s institution, whom, by paying a publishing fee ensures access for everyone.
The Nordic Network of Disability Research have decided that the funds we used to pay for our former publisher’s services, will now be used to cover these fees where authors have no funding themselves. It must be noted that Stockholm University Press SUP is a non-profit publisher, so all the money paid by the network is solely used for covering the costs related to the production of the journal and to maintain the professional look and feel of the content.
Again, we do not contribute these means as a form of charity, but as means securing the presentation of quality research in our journal. In other words, we now apply a model ensuring both a larger circle of readers, and an accessible publishing platform for more researchers in the field. Our hope is, that this will be an inspiration in this field, and that it also will improve the standard of the publications and thus bring the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research to new heights.
Finally, we extend our gratitude to the editors Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, Janice Mclaughlin and Hisayo Katsui for all the work they have put in so far to make this transition happen. Sofie Wennström at Stockholm University Press has also been of invaluable help to us, and for that we are truly grateful. We wish the editors and Stockholm University Press good luck with their tasks ahead!
Lancaster, November 30, 2017
President of the Nordic Network of Disability Research