Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Open Source WTF

I recently received an spammy email about a new open source veterinary journal called Veterinary Science Development.  I am, in general, supportive of open source.  Ever since I stopped working for large universities the sheer inaccessibility of most recent research reports has become very clear to me. However in the course of reading the email my skepticism kicked in, big time.

"...Publication in our journals means that your research articles will be available for free access online being immediately citable...."


"...All research articles published by PAGEPress are subject to a rigorous peer review...."


"Open access publishing does have its costs. Since PAGEPress does not have subscription charges for its research content it can defray publishing costs from the Article Processing Charges (APC)."

Wait.  What?

"This is because PAGEPress believes that the interests of the scientific community can best be served by an immediate, worldwide, unlimited, open access to the full text of research articles."

That's fine for the 'scientific community'.  But what about us poor schlobs who are trying to pay the bills, get tenure, or live on the meagre salaries of full time scientists?  Why are we paying for this?

"The Article Processing Charge for publication of each article in our journal is EUR 500,00 for Original Articles, Rapid Communications and Review Articles. Editorials, Case Histories and Letters are entitled for a 50% discount."

Yeah, you just lost me.  If I have a paper that will hold up to 'rigorous peer review' why in holy heck would I pay someone to publish it?

"Veterinary Science Development (eISSN 2038-9701) is a new Open Access, online-only, peer-reviewed journal published by PAGEPress, Pavia, Italy."

Okay, so I go to the website and see their idea of a good rigorous source for a definition of Veterinary Medicine is Wikipedia.  Uh-huh.  I searched the editorial team for someone with a postgraduate degree or DVM, and didn't find one.  I didn't find any kind of typical editorial board at all--that is a board made up of scientists in the field the journal addresses.

So essentially this seems to me to be a veterinary journal with no veterinarians on the editorial board and no impact factor or established readership asking people for US$1000 just to submit, and a further $600 to be published.  It's like vanity publishing, but they can refuse to publish the work and still keep most of the money!

Pull the other one, mate.  It's got bells on.

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