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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."
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Free Scientific Journals

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  • Peer Review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the darn ( 624240 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:28AM (#11502985) Homepage
    The free flow of information is all well and good, but the important service provided by most print journals is that they subject submissions to (supposedly) rigorous peer review. IANAS, but I imagine that such review might take some $ to accomplish. Will a researcher-pays system be inclined to look as closely at the articles submitted by its primary cash source?
  • Seems to be working (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:33AM (#11503030) Journal
    The real barrier to entry is name recognition. A new journal can offer the best services and product out there, but if it doesn't command respect, scientists will take their work elsewhere.

    I was skeptical about this new crop of journals, but PLoS seems to be taking off pretty nicely -- I've seen some decent stuff in there. The key seems to be having a critical mass of major players on the board, to command respect and to stock the first year with decent material. (Of course, that means using grad students and postdocs as cannon fodder on yet another front, but, hey, they had their chance to go to law school instead.)

    FYI, journals are never, ever referred to as "magazines".

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

    by zangdesign ( 462534 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:13AM (#11503461) Journal
    The only problem is that the public is still paying to publish the article. I seriously doubt that scientists are coughing up their own moolah for this.

    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.
  • by dickeya ( 733264 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:15PM (#11504153)
    My previous job was a university marine research laboratory and I can tell you one thing... these people are very cheap - they have to be. They expect to get many of these journals for free from the University, and of course they should. The school takes a large chunk of the award to cover overhead on facilities, which by the way are falling apart. There has been talk of moving some of the publications to an online format but this was halted by strong resistance. These guys don't want to read on the computer screen, they want to sit at their desk and file the article away in their cramped office space. The journal is a necessity for many in the research field.

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