Antipode have announced that from now on their book reviews will be open access on their website, rather than being in the journal. The journal Society and Space also has a similar arrangement. This seems to be working well. Society and Space publish regular and timely reviews. I’m sure the same will happen with Antipode. The move seems to be based on the general feeling that book reviews can be more responsive and reach a larger audience if the are published on open access sites rather than I the subscription journal. It would seem the reviewers are happy with this arrangement.
It has been just under a year since I took over as reviews editor for Information, Communication & Society. Its been great fun finding interesting books and commissioning reviews. I’ve found that if I curate the books, then people are often keen to review books that they might want to read anyway. We thought about adopting the model of opening up book reviews to make them open access, but we decided for the time being to keep them in the journal. We are able to put all book reviews on to the online first or ‘latest articles’ section of the website, so they are published within a few weeks of submission. The reviews are timely then, but they are only available to those with access to the journal. I’m sure this is something we will revisit in the future.
ICS is actually moving to a new format from January 2014. This will create more space for us (we are sticking to 10 issues a year, but the new format means we can fit more content into the same number of pages). This has created more space for articles and book reviews, and gives us some more flexibility. As a consequence we had to plan in all of our backlog of reviews across the issues in 2013 (all of these were already on the online first section). It means that this year we will be publishing over 30 book reviews in the calendar year. We are going to see how the new format works with reviews, but I’m guessing we will think again about the book reviews model being developed by Society and Space and Antipode.