We have begun working with Springer Media’s journals division as our new publisher for Spatial Demography. It is a pleasure to make this transition from one that we produced wholly in-house with volunteers. As good as they have been, it has been both a time and financial cost to Jeremy and me as Editors-in-Chief. When PressForward’s Alfred Sloan grant ended, we were forced to host the journal and this website on a different (commercial) server. Jeremy and I are using our consulting company’s web host provider for this purpose as a way to support the journal’s continuation.
The acquisition of the journal by Springer Media, however, is a significant and strategic move for us. The Open Access model in today’s scholarly marketplace can be quite popular as it offers a shift from a “reader-pay” model (subscriptions; advertising) to an “author-pay” (page charges) model. Institutions often provide a subvention to Open Access publishers so that individual authors associated with that institution do not have to pay processing (or page) fees for a paper. However, the Open Access model does not resolve the problem that someone still has to pay for the costs inherently involved in publishing a peer-reviewed journal.
Another issue with Open Access journal is….well, us! As scholars, as much as we espouse that the publisher should not matter in terms of the merit or prestige of the journal outlet, we still do not act that way on Tenure-and-Promotion Committees. Our move to Springer Media places Spatial Demography on the same publisher-based footing as Demography, often considered the leading peer-reviewed outlet in the field of demography. (Springer also publishes Demography.) In the long term, this will help Spatial Demography through the marketing of the journal, the management of manuscripts, the production of manuscripts, and so forth. It was a decision that we did not take lightly and resisted the opportunity to be acquired by a formal publisher at first. But Springer Media’s ability to help take the journal where it needs to go as a young publication outlet proved convincing.
Jeremy and I plan to maintain the spatialdemography.org website to support the journal and other aspects of spatial demography that do not fit the peer-reviewed format. It will continue to serve as an information portal for scholars who interface with spatial demography. Our ability to give better service n the maintenance of membership requests to this website so one can post materials will improve now that the shift to Springer has been completed and our first printed and online issue is now out.
Frank M. Howell