Science and technology

When open supply meets tutorial publishing: Platinum open entry journals

Academics routinely give away their work to corporations free of charge—after which they purchase it again! Can you think about a farmer gifting away free meals after which paying to get it again for dinner? Probably not. Yet teachers like me have been trapped for many years in a scheme the place we give free work in trade for job safety after which pay thousands and thousands of {dollars} a 12 months to learn our personal writing.

Fortunately, that is altering. The outcomes from a study I simply completed present that it’s doable for teachers to get job safety with out paying for it. My research discovered a whole bunch of journals which can be platinum open entry (OA)—that’s, they require neither the creator nor the readers to pay for peer-reviewed work—but nonetheless carry the status and readership to assist teachers succeed of their careers.

This pattern is exploding: The Directory of Open Access Journals lists over 17,300 journals that supply a method of OA at some stage, and over 12,250 haven’t any article-processing costs (APCs). I used a useful open supply Python script to check this record to a listing of journals ranked by the frequency with which their revealed papers are cited in different articles (The Journal Impact Factor List). It is obvious that the previous couple of years have seen a rising pattern in direction of each OA generally and platinum OA particularly. These tendencies have the potential to speed up science whereas serving to forestall tutorial servitude.

The tutorial’s dilemma

Academics are typically fairly clever, so why have they engaged on this disadvantageous system for thus lengthy? Simply put, teachers have been caught in a lure: In order to maintain their jobs and get tenure, they should publish in journals with a excessive affect issue. An affect issue is a metric based mostly on the imply variety of citations to articles revealed within the final two years in a given journal, as listed by the proprietary Web of Science. Impact elements are a status metric for teachers.

Historically, tutorial publishing has been dominated by a handful of main publishers that used subscription-based enterprise fashions. In this mannequin, tutorial authors write articles, peer-review articles, and infrequently do the enhancing of those articles—all free of charge. The articles are revealed beneath copyright owned by the most important publishing corporations. Then both the identical teachers pay to learn these articles on a person foundation (~US $35/article), or their college libraries pay to subscribe to all the articles in a journal. These prices may be astronomical: usually over US $1 million per 12 months for all titles from a single writer.

This system is not sensible for a lot of apparent causes. Scientific progress is slowed down by proscribing entry to copyrighted scientific literature squirreled away behind paywalls. It is difficult to do state-of-the-art analysis should you have no idea what it’s since you can’t learn it. Scientists are divided into those that can afford entry to the literature and people who can’t. Academics within the creating world usually wrestle to pay, however even well-endowed Harvard University has taken motion to rein in its yearly journal bills.

Costs to authors are equally excessive. APC values vary from just a few hundred {dollars} to jaw-dropping 1000’s of {dollars} per article. APCs may be notably damaging for some disciplines which can be much less nicely funded, such because the humanities and social sciences (as in comparison with bodily and medical sciences or engineering). Substantial APCs additionally reinforce the wealth hole in academia, making skilled success depending on having earnings to put money into publishing. Is there one other career that asks employees to pay cash to make merchandise for others?

Open entry to the rescue!

This downside may be solved by the OA motion, which advocates for making all tutorial literature freely accessible to everybody. There is an unmistakable rise in OA publishing: It now makes up almost a 3rd of the peer-reviewed literature.

The advantages of OA are twofold. First, OA is a profit to science total, as a result of it offers a frictionless technique of studying the state-of-the-art for making important developments in data. Second, from a person tutorial’s viewpoint, OA offers the pragmatic benefit of enabling the broadest doable viewers of their writing by making it freely and simply accessible on the web.

Funders have begun to demand OA for these causes, notably public funders of science. It is difficult to argue that if the general public funds analysis, they need to need to pay a second time to learn it.

Where is tutorial publishing now, and the place it’s going?

Conventional publishers nonetheless have management of this example, largely due to the notion that they’ve a monopoly on journals with an affect issue. Despite the disadvantages of publishing the normal method, many teachers proceed to publish in subscription-based journals or pay excessive APCs, figuring out that publication in excessive affect issue journals is important for demonstrating experience for grants, tenure, and promotion.

A couple of years in the past, teachers merely had no selection: They might both publish in a journal with an affect issue or publish OA. Now they will publish OA and nonetheless get the advantages of an affect think about one in every of 3 ways:

  • Green OA: Publish in a standard method after which self-archive by importing preprints or accepted variations of papers into an open repository or server. Some faculties have an institutional repository for this function. For instance, Western University has [email protected], the place any of their professors can share their work. Academics with out their very own institutional repos can use servers like, arXiv, or  OSF preprints. I additionally use social media for teachers, like Academia or ResearchGate, for self-archiving. This may be advanced to navigate as a result of publishers have totally different guidelines, and it’s considerably time consuming.
  • Gold OA: Publish in a rising record of journals with affect elements that make your paper freely accessible after publication however require an APC. This methodology is simple to navigate: Academics publish as ordinary and OA is constructed into the publishing course of. The downside is that funds going to APCs could also be diverted from analysis actions.
  • Platinum OA: Publish in platinum OA journals with an affect issue. No one pays both to learn or to publish. The problem right here is discovering a journal in your self-discipline that matches this criterion, however that continues to vary.

There are tens of 1000’s of journals, however only some hundred platinum OA journals with affect elements. This might make it laborious for teachers to discover a good match between what they research and a journal that matches their pursuits. See the Appendix in my study for the record, or use the Python script talked about above to run up to date numbers for your self. The variety of platinum OA journals is rising rapidly, so if you don’t discover one thing now you might have some strong journals to select from quickly. Happy publishing!

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