Open Access Publishing


As those who know me IRL or follow me on twitter (@djhocking), I am advocate for open science. This includes data sharing, open source software, open access to code of analysis, and open source publishing. This is my first post on the subject. I actually started this post back on 02 April 2013 but then my daughter surprised us by arriving a couple weeks early so I am just reviving the post now. My thoughts were stimulated by an article in Nature: Cost of Publishing. In the article the author notes that,

an average revenue per article of roughly $5,000. Analysts estimate profit margins at 20–30% for the industry, so the average cost to the publisher of producing an article is likely to be around $3,500–4,000.

The author notes that costs vary widely and are difficult to estimate. “Diane Sullenberger, executive editor for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC, says that the journal would need to charge about $3,700 per paper to cover costs if it went open-access.” These values align well with the typical $3000 cost of electing for open-access in traditional journals. Nature publishing suggests that it would be much more expensive to publish open-access. These traditional journals provide copy-editing and sometimes promotional activities.
However, newer journals without a tradition of paper printing, copy-editing, and typesetting, are able to publish open-access articles with less expense. One complaint of scientists is that they provide the reviewing, primary editing, and formatting for free and don’t see where the expense comes from.

For example, most of PLoS ONE’s editors are working scientists, and the journal does not perform functions such as copy-editing. Some journals, including Nature, also generate additional content for readers, such as editorials, commentary articles and journalism.

Some of the expense is reliable, long-term server space. Publishers such as PLOS require considerable initial capital investment through grants and Venture Capitalists. Then high volume publishing helps maintain finances in the black. PLOS ONE charge $1350 per article but is generally very good about reducing/waving fees if grants are not available to pay for publishing. In addition to the wave of new open access journals, there is an increasing interest in preprint servers (more here about preprints). The Nature article points out that,

Many researchers in fields such as mathematics, high-energy physics and computer science … post pre- and post-reviewed versions of their work on servers such as arXiv — an operation that costs some $800,000 a year to keep going, or about $10 per article. Under a scheme of free open-access ‘Episciences’ journals proposed by some mathematicians this January, researchers would organize their own system of community peer review and host research on arXiv, making it open for all at minimal cost (see Nature http://doi.org/kwg; 2013).

One other major benefit of open access publishing is that even if per-article costs remained the same, there would be value in the time researchers save in accessing and reading papers that are not behind paywalls. Despite many of the benefits of open-access publishing the Nature article points out that,

a total conversion will be slow in coming, because scientists still have every economic incentive to submit their papers to high-prestige subscription journals. The subscriptions tend to be paid for by campus libraries, and few individual scientists see the costs directly. From their perspective, publication is effectively free.

Open Access is Coming Though

The US Federal Government will be requiring open access of articles from publicly-funded research.

White House Open Access:

A Review Cascade can also greatly help facilitate publishing and review times as well as encouraging open access publishing. Nature now has a review cascade.

OA Journals for Ecology and the Environment
Here are a some open access journals for research on ecology, conservation biology, and the environment. Most of my focus is on English-language journals for Ecology, but even for that discipline this is in no way an exhaustive list. New OA journals seems to be popping up everywhere these days. It will certainly be interesting to see the future of scientific publishing. More information on OA Journals is available through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Let me know if you have experience with any of these journals/publishers or if you know of other good options for ecology and conservation.

[UPDATE: This list is now being updated at http://danieljhocking.wordpress.com/links/oa-journals/]

BMC Ecology

  • Publisher: BioMed Central
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2001
  • Eigenfactor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 1955

Elementa

  • Publisher: BioOne?
  • Indexed: Not yet?
  • Year Established: 2012
  • Eigenfactor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 1,450
  • Judge Importance: No
  • Acceptance Rate: Yes
  • Publish Reviews: No
  • License: CC-BY 3.0 Unported

Ecosphere

  • Publisher: Ecological Society of America
  • Indexed: Not as of 02 March 2013
  • Year Established: 2010
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor: Not calculated yet
  • OA Cost: $USD 1250/1500 (members/non-members)
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: No

Herpetological Conservation and Biology

  • Publisher:
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2006
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor: 0.76 (2012: 5yr)
  • OA Cost: No
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Publish Reviews: Yes

Ideas in Ecology and Evolution

  • Publisher: Queen’s University
  • Indexed: Partly (not by ISI)
  • Year Established: 2008
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: $50 – 200 (Canadian)
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: Yes

International Journal of Ecology

  • Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Company
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2007
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 600
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: Yes

Journal of Biodiversity and Ecological Sciences

  • Publisher:
  • Indexed:
  • Year Established: 2011
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost:
  • Judge Importance:
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: Yes

Natural Resources

The Open Ecology Journal

  • Publisher: Bentham open
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2008
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor: ~1.86
  • OA Cost: $600-900
  • Judge Importance:
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: Yes
  • License: Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial License 3.0

Open Journal of Ecology

  • Publisher: Scientific Research Publishing
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2011
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 500 +50 per page over 10
  • Judge Importance:
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: ?
  • License: Creative Commons Attribution License

PeerJ (how PeerJ is changing everything)

  • Publisher: PeerJ
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2012
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: Lifetime Membership ($USD 99 per author)
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: No (can upload as non-peer reviewed PrePrint)

PLoS Biology

  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2003
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 2900 (reduced for many countries or at request)
  • Judge Importance: Yes
  • Acceptance Rate:
  • Publish Reviews: Yes

PLoS ONE

  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Indexed: Yes
  • Year Established: 2006
  • Eigenfactor:
  • Impact Factor:
  • OA Cost: $USD 1350 (reduced for many countries or at request)
  • Judge Importance: No
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Publish Reviews: No

OA Options of more traditional journals
Acta Oecologia – Published by Elsevier which has been controversial in their relationship to the OA movement (here, here, here, current info). OA Option $USD 2500

About Daniel Hocking

I am a post-doctoral researcher at the UMass-Amherst. I am interested in the use of statistical models in ecology and population biology.

Posted on August 16, 2013, in Academia and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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