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Education Science

Journal Offers Flat Fee For 'All You Can Publish' 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-ish dept.
ananyo writes "In what publishing experts say is a radical experiment, a new open-access venture is asking its authors for only a one-off fee to secure a lifetime membership that will allow them to publish free, peer-reviewed research papers. The venture, called PeerJ, formally announced its launch on 12 June. The model represents a big departure for science publishing, which has traditionally been dominated by two basic business models: either subscribers pay for access, or authors pay for each publication — often thousands of dollars — with access being free."
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Journal Offers Flat Fee For 'All You Can Publish'

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  • Re:Chicken/Egg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:07AM (#40305733)

    Sort of?

    Maybe in some fields, but I have to say personally the quality is pretty crappy in my field.

    I think there's a certain hype factor with PLoS One that will wear off over time. I think it is linked to heavily, but I can't say that I find the articles in it very compelling. The regular PLoS journals are better, but still aren't of the same quality as the traditional journals in their fields.

    I really want open access to succeed, but the pay-to-publish model creates some ridiculous incentive structures--you're basically giving the journal an incentive to publish your work because you give them money (believe me, the nonprofit status doesn't matter). The PLoS One model, also, I think has been a failure so far, publishing papers that appeal a lot to a certain segment but wouldn't meet the standards of most established journals in their fields.

    PLoS One, maybe more so than any other journal, has probably revealed to me that publicity doesn't equal quality in scientific writing. It reminds me a lot of the Slashdot commenting system in this regard (yes, I'm aware of the irony): the system does filter out the worst of the worst contributions, but the level of discussion for the most part never reaches a certain level of sophistication either. For a news site, that's maybe not totally bad. For a scientific communication site, though, it's awful. It creates this sort of "faux quality" where all you have to do is appeal to the largest common denominator, more so than in other journals.

    I don't find the model of this PeerJ journal half-bad, though I think I could see it be applied more appropriately to professional society journals. E.g., join our professional organization and we'll review your papers for free and provide open access.

    I don't know about this push to open the review process, though. I have colleagues who advocate for this like it's some noble quality--to sign their reviews openly--but I think there's a need for some attempt at anonymity. The whole thing is more honest. Do people really think that reviewers will be as stringent in their reviews if their reviews are public?

    Actually, this is one area where some good old economics might apply. Too many journals? The publishers charge less, or the libraries just stop carrying them, and then people stop sending papers to them. Want people to read your work for free, but can't find a journal? Put it on your website.

    Honestly, this is all making me sick to my stomach--it's like people are losing their minds about academic writing. "Will you publish my paper? I'll give you 1000 dollars!" "Yes, I'm being totally honest in my reviews when everyone can read them and know who I am!"

    As if academics weren't fd up enough...

  • Re:Chicken/Egg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @04:47AM (#40306405) Journal
    There's a very easy shortcut to recognition for a journal: make sure everyone in the field has heard of everyone on the editorial committee. It's not that hard to round up half a dozen prominent researchers in a field to be in charge of a journal. You give them the authority to reject any papers that are submitted and then everyone reading the journal knows that the papers are things that those guys thought were interesting and novel, which means that they are probably of a high standard. You can get other people to do the first and second round reviews, so their actual workload is very low. You don't need to publish a printed version initially, which means you have no size constraints. If you only have three good submissions, only publish three papers in the first edition, then let everyone know that the acceptance rate was low. If you want more content, then you can invite articles and editorials that are not peer reviewed, as long as there is a clear distinction between those that are and those that aren't. I've only seen this done once, but it worked very well in that instance.

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