Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Open Source Exploitation

Since leaving the halls of academia, but not the activities of science, I certainly have come to miss having access to university subscriptions to peer-reviewed journals.  And while not a whole-hearted convert, I do appreciate open source journals.  So when I received  an email announcing that reputable journal publisher SAGE was launching an open source journal, I was quite enthusiastic.

Until, that is, I got to the line that said "$195 introductory author acceptance fee (discounted from the regular price of $695)."

I understand that if the reader is not monetising the system, something has to. But I absolutely reject the idea that the gap can be filled by moving to a vanity-publishing model where the scientist has to not only come up with money to do the research, and to make a living... and then even more to get the research published.  A vanity model of publishing undermines the value of the the research and undermines the neutrality of the journal's editorial standards.

Not only will I not be submitting to SAGE Open, I won't be reading it either. If SAGE cannot support this activity as a public service I would suggest that they investigate securing a sponsor, donations, grants or advertisers rather than loading yet more cost onto researcher. If Open Source journals simply cannot exist without contributor fees, then maybe they shouldn't exist at all.

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