The following information on Open Access is out of date. I'm no longer certain whether open access is a model that will work for an area as underfunded as theoretical ecology. Having had some additional, but limited, experience with academic libraries, I can see some advantages to the bundling of journal subscriptions that some publishers have required. For example, when a little bit of flexibility was given to Duke Libraries in the bundling of Elsevier journals, giving the libraries to save a little money by not subscribing to some journals, guess which research areas lost out?
In any event, there might be some useful information here, but this page no longer fully represents my views on academic publishing.
It is trivial to state that scientific journals would be nothing without submissions based on research supported by public funds, and scientists' voluntary reviewing and editorial services. Publishing is critically important to scientific pursuits, and these pursuits are what motivates our professional and voluntary efforts. In turn, universities have no choice but to use the products of these efforts to make decisions surrounding academic promotions and such. Finally, it is because of this need that some certain for-profit publishers can charge outrageous rates for access to the products by both universities and researchers, the very people of whose efforts these journals depend. We're between a rock and a hard place, and need to find new publishing options. It's mostly the medical journals that have become critically dependent on the present model; theoretical ecology is a flea on a hair on the tail that wags the dog, but still we could do something. Peruse the links to the left for Open Access information.
SPARC is a coalition of universities supporting open access publishing. Click on its membership link, then on its "SPARC members" link to find out if your university is a member.
Three Provosts in the Durham/Chapel Hill/Raleigh, North Carolina region wrote a statement concerning Elsevier's affect on their libraries.
The Public Knowledge Project is a Canadian initiative "to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research through innovative online environments" and "has offered free, open source software for the management and publishing of journals and conferences".
Oxford University Press is taking steps towards an open access model: "Open Acess is undoubtedly the most debated topic in scholarly publishing at the moment. To fulfil our role as a University Press we felt a responsibility to the scholarly communities we represent to explore it as a viable publishing model." One of their journal editors told me that "OUP already has been experimenting with Open Access under different models (see example 1, example 2 and example 3 for three quite different examples). OUP also provides free access online to its journals to some 60+ developing countries and greatly reduced subs to another 60 or so (see link).
Mike Rosenzweig started the journal Evolutionary Ecology Research in response to the things for-profit publishers are doing. Click on the link to find links to several statements. In particular, see Rosenzweig's "Threats to Access" article.
Peter Suber edits a very large Blog devoted to open access issues. According to his site, "The main purpose of the blog is to gather and disseminate news about the open-access movement, and to harness the energy and knowledge of a wide group of contributors in doing so."
Donald Knuth wrote the legendary, "The Art of Computer Programming", as well as the open source typesetting software, TeX. He led a revolt of the editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms in 2003 to move from Academic Press (purchased by Elsevier in 2001) to "work on a new journal, Transactions on Algorithms, to be published by ACM, the leading professional society for computer scientists." [www.freedom-to-tinker.com] Knuth wrote an open letter to the editorial board that is full of useful information.
These two Bergstrom's (Carl=Ecologist, Ted=Economist) have collaborated on journal issues and each have web sites filled with interesting information regarding scientific publishing.
I'm in the initial stages of thinking about contemplating the start of a Theoretical Ecology journal (apprehension intended); see the link to the left.