Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Education Science

Free Scientific Journals 29

RichiH writes "Most of you have probably heard that science journals are getting more and more expensive. In hard numbers, 215% increase in price over the last fifteen years. What proves a major problem for libraries and interested individuals is great for the publishers. Reed Elsevier, with about 1700 scientific magazines the leading publisher, had a profit margin of 33.8% in 2003. With most research which is published, the taxpayers get the bill while the publishers get the money. So now for the good news: People are starting to fight this. Creative Commons is a good way, for example. Additionally, there are several magazines available which are based on a author-pays basis. If this sounds like a strange idea, think again. If Cell prints an article by you, you are charged $1000 for the first and $250 for each additional graphic you include. And this is for a reader-pays magazine! With PLoS Biology, the author pays $1500 for the whole article and the reader gets the magazine for free on the internet. Biomed Central lists 100 free magazines while the Directory of Open Access Journals lists an amazing 1425. I for one considered getting the $160 a year print subscription of PLoS just Because."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Free Scientific Journals

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Peer Review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. GeneMachine ( 720233 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:41AM (#11503121)
    So the distribution of manuscripts to reviewers is worth a >30% margin? FYI, the reviewers themselves are not paid by regular journals and will not be paid by free journals. So the standard of peer review can be maintained without a problem. Additionally, it is not uncommon for regular journals that the authors have to pay for the publication of their articles. The $1500 for PLoS is well in the normal price range for article publication.

    I consider this a good development. The business model for scientific publishers is deeply flawed. Consider: The public pays for research done at a university. The public pays for the publication of this article in a scientific journal. And then - the public pays again a ridiculously high price, so that the universities can subscribe to this journals. This simply ain't right. To complete the sad story, even the copyright of the article does not stay with the researcher who published it, but is transferred to the publisher.

  • Re:Peer Review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:35AM (#11503672)
    It seems to me the best solution is the one where the scientific journal is paying the researcher

    I would suspect that this would just result in an increase of the cost of the journal. It's just a shell game hiding the cost of the publication of these journals.

    Scientific journals are a funny business. The circulations of the journals is very small, but the information in them can be very important in the long run. Clearly there is an external economy not accounted for in the direct economics. When that occurs the usual solution is to go outside the traditional economic models and get some sort of government regulatory involvement. That seems to be happening in an indirect manner now, with a distortion in the whole process of excess profits to the publisher. Some people are trying to do an end run around the existing process, but the very important tradition of peer review is threatened by this.

    It is not going to be easy to come up with alternative to the current system.

  • Re:Peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:52AM (#11503837) Journal
    It seems to me the best solution is the one where the scientific journal is paying the researcher, much as any other magazine would pay a journalist.

    Yeah, but somebody has to pay for the operation! A journal can charge authors, charge for online access, charge for paper copies, or all of the above. You can't simultaneously eliminate or slash all of those things!

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents