Home » News » UC linguistics faculty pledge support for Glossa, call for cancellation of Lingua

UC linguistics faculty pledge support for Glossa, call for cancellation of Lingua

Glossa logoIn November 2015, the editorial board of Lingua, a linguistics journal published by Elsevier, resigned en masse to begin a new open access journal, Glossa. The decision followed a series of disagreements with the publisher which are discussed in this post on Language Log. Several UC linguistics faculty have now issued a statement declaring their support for the new journal and urging their colleagues and the UC libraries to no longer support Lingua. In response, the UC libraries have informed Elsevier that they wish to cancel their subscription to Lingua.

“The UC Linguistics faculty statement of support for Glossa reflects our conviction that the value of a journal lies in the efforts of the authors, reviewers, and editors responsible for creating and vetting the content that the journal publishes,” says Eric Bakovic, UC San Diego linguistics professor and chair of the Academic Senate’s University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC). “In the move from Lingua to Glossa, all of these critical elements remain the same — therefore, Glossa is what Lingua was, except now better because it is now a fair open access journal. Elsevier insists on keeping the Lingua name for what is effectively a brand-new journal, with none of the same critical elements, which means that they believe that the value of a journal lies in its name and its publisher. Our aim is to prove them wrong.”

Ivy Anderson, California Digital Library’s Director for Collections and Interim Executive Director, agrees that cancellation of Lingua makes sense — but in today’s environment of bundled subscription deals, cancelling a journal isn’t always a simple matter. “Many journal licenses do, however, permit the library to substitute new journal subscriptions for ones that are no longer of interest, and this is the route that the UC Libraries will be pursuing for Lingua,” says Anderson. CDL will be notifying Elsevier that this substitution is not the result of regular shifts in interest or priority, but rather a deliberate decision to withdraw support for Lingua because of the board’s resignation and the declaration of UC faculty.

The UC community will continue to have access to Lingua content published through 2015, before the board resigned. Access to what many in the linguistics community now refer to as “zombie Lingua” may continue purely as a function of how Elsevier chooses to fill packages UC subscribes to, but the journal will no longer be targeted for the same kind of perpetual access rights that UC seeks for subscribed journals.

In making this statement of support for Glossa, the UC Linguistics faculty have joined their colleagues at institutions like the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and MIT; in addition MIT recently announced its support for Open Library of Humanities, which is supporting Glossa’s move to its new home at Ubiquity Press.  While the Glossa editorial board faces challenges in transitioning away from its former publisher and embracing a new publication model, the vocal and public support it is receiving from the linguistics community positions it well for success at the helm of its new journal. In fact, Glossa’s progress has inspired researchers in the neighboring field of cognitive science to petition the editorial board of another Elsevier journal, Cognition, to consider making a similar move. Such declarations of independence from journals aren’t new, but they may be on the upswing.

To learn more about UC’s support of Glossa, contact Eric Bakovic.

  • NJ Prof

    Sad to see the UC Libraries involved in censorship. Although not a book, please add Lingua to your next banned books display.

    • Lu An

      It’s not censorship, it’s a boycott. You are free to buy the issues of Lingua yourself, if you want. But please don’t waste tax payers’ money on it!

      • NJ Prof

        It is definitely censorship as long been defined by the library community. It is being deselected. If they never subscribed in the first place, I might agree with you. The university is a government agency, so it is censorship because it is a government actor.

  • Rudy Troike

    It used to be that professional scholarly societies either published journals themselves, as the Linguistic Society of America, the American Anthropological Association and the American Dialect Society still do, or secured publication support from academic institutions, as the International Journal of American Linguistics and Anthropological Linguistics still do. Commercial publishers saw an opportunity to make money, and lured academics into creating journals, or taking over faltering ones, and many followed the piper down the slippery slope, losing autonomy in the process. Now the piper is calling the tune, and journals are costing institutions more than their original independent support. Academics may complain, but they have only themselves to blame for giving up their scholarly autonomy.