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A personal letter to ASC Leaders about the future of open criminology and their legacies

This is the first complete draft. I'm accepting feedback. You can comment at the page's bottom or email me at [email protected]

Published onApr 07, 2023
A personal letter to ASC Leaders about the future of open criminology and their legacies

Dear Executive Director and Officers of the American Society of Criminology (ASC): I admire your service to the society. I don’t want to cause you problems. With this letter,1 I want to help you solve one: ASC is doing ~nothing to promote open access (OA) to criminology outputs.2 This is a huge problem yet easily fixable, whether you realize it or not. You need to solve the problem, not just for the sake of criminology, its stakeholders, or even ASC. You need to solve the problem for selfish reasons: think of your legacy. Do you want to be in Hall of Shame with Cesare Lombroso? Criminologists will ask, decades from now, “How could ASC leaders be anti-science, anti-impact, and anti-social justice? They must’ve been bad people. Certainly, they weren’t good criminologists.”3 I don’t want you remembered this way. If you don’t either, you should at least hedge your bet: do something to promote open criminology. It’s my understanding you’re afraid of Wiley. If true, that’s a nightmare, not reality. People have been trying to help you understand how ASC can promote OA with ~zero risk but huge benefit in citation and altmetrics (including revenue). Yet, to my knowledge, ASC leaders have taken zero collective action to better understand OA. It’s hard to make good decisions when you don’t understand something. This semester, as a member of your publications committee, I’ve drafted high-ROI plans for ASC to start promoting open criminology. They aren’t going to succeed. Why not? See above. I’m not out of ideas to help you, but I’m out of gas. As a final attempt, I turned to ChatGPT. I couldn’t help but to laugh about its response:

Me: What is the best way for the American Society of Criminology to start promoting open access to criminology outputs?

ChatGPT: Something went wrong. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at

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