Ten years after announcing that electronic copies of the URISA Journal would be made freely available to teachers and learners everywhere via the World Wide Web, the Journal’s electronic archives have become one of the richest collections of open educational resources in the geospatial field. 

Des Plaines, IL - Ten years after announcing that electronic copies of the URISA Journal would be made freely available to teachers and learners everywhere via the World Wide Web, the Journal’s electronic archives have become one of the richest collections of open educational resources in the geospatial field.

As of December 2009 there are 196 peer-reviewed articles in 40 issues of the URISA Journal freely available at www.urisa.org/journal_archives.

The Journal is one of only three journals listed by the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) under the keyword “gis,” and it is the only one to be ranked among 46 leading geographic information science (GIScience) journals by Caron and colleagues in 2008.

Caron and colleagues’ combined a Delphi study of 40 international experts and a quantitative comparison of journal citation rates to identify and rank leading periodicals in the GIScience field.

They ranked the URISA Journal 14th in relative importance among 46 periodicals. According to president Kathrine Cargo, “the sustained quality of the URISA Journal confirms the quality of our authors’ research, the dedication and skill of our editorial team, and the viability of open access publishing. URISA is proud to contribute these valuable resources to the benefit of the geospatial enterprise worldwide.”  

In 1998-99 Harlan Onsrud offered to serve as editor on the condition that the URISA Board of Directors agreed to publish open-access version the journal. Onsrud was concerned about escalating costs of academic journal subscriptions, and about scholars’ responsibility to “maximize dissemination of our works and our readership.” At the time, URISA President Joseph Ferreira stated that “while commercial publishers best make progress through exclusivity and control, the URISA Journal editors believe that science and new knowledge is best advanced through an intellectual environment of openness and freedom” (URISA 1999)  

References
Caron, Claude, Stéphane Roche, Daniel Goyer and Annick Jaton (2008) GIScience Journals Ranking and Evaluation: An International Delphi Study. Transactions in GIS 12:3, 293-321.
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (1999). URISA Journal Breaks New Ground. Press Release.