Posts Tagged 'Peer review'

Academic and Professional Publishing – book review

My review of Academic & Professional Publishing, edited by Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz and Ian Borthwick has now been published in Learned Publishing where it is (currently) freely available . I liked it, a lot:

The fact that book publishing deadlines (especially multi-contributor works) sometimes means that the rapid pace of events can overtake some details has not prevented the authors from including concrete examples (notably in the excellent chapter on publishing and communication strategies) and it is all the better for it. Indeed, the book’s pace and scope compared to the daily torrent of information provides exactly the space for perspective and critical thought that we need.

If you’d like a second opinion, Judy Luther has also reviewed it for Scholarly Kitchen:

Reviewing this book had the feel of attending a productive meeting with a mix of interesting facts, worthwhile references, and different perspectives on important topics providing food for thought. Much like looking in a three way mirror, we recognize the familiar and realize that there are dimensions that we hadn’t seen before.

Submission fees in open access journals

The summary version of a report I wrote earlier this year for Knowledge Exchange on submission fees in open access journals has just been published on the KE website.

Submission fees, in which an author pays a fee when submitting an article are already quite common in certain disciplines, notably economic and finance journals and in some areas of the experimental life sciences. The report found that that there could be benefits to publishers in certain cases (particularly for journals with high rejection rates) to switch to such a model. For high rejection rate journals one advantage would be that article processing charges could be kept much lower than they would otherwise have to be.

Overall there seems to be an interest in the model but the risks, particularly those involved in any transition, are seen by publishers to outweigh the perceived benefits. There is also a problem in that the advantages offered by submission fees are often general benefits that might improve the system but do not provide publishers and authors with direct incentives to change to open access. To support transition funders, institutions and publication funds could make it clear that submission fees would be an allowable cost. At present this is often unclear in their policies.

See also Open Access Submission Fees

Update 9/12/10: There’s a review and discussion of the report on the Scholarly Kitchen blog

Open Access Submission Fees

Mark Ware Consulting has been commissioned by Knowledge Exchange (, a partnership of JISC (UK), SURF (Netherlands), DEFF (Denmark) and DfG (Germany), to conduct a study into the feasibility of submission fees in open access journals (i.e. as distinct from publication fees).

An open access business model based on submission charges could have real advantages over OA based (solely) on publication charges. For example, at present and under gold OA, authors have an incentive to submit their paper to an unrealistically prestigious journal or conference, since there is no cost to them, their paper might be accepted, and even if it is not, they will receive good feedback from senior reviewers. They can then re-submit the paper to less and less prestigious journals or conferences until it is accepted. There is little cost to them but great cost to the wider scholarly communications community. An approach based on submission charges may also introduce a greater level of competition into the scholarly communication domain by more closely relating payments to services provided. It might also provide a better OA model for high-rejection-rate journals where otherwise the publication charge has to cover the costs of peer review of all the rejected papers.

There may be, however, risks in a model based on submission charges, for example funders may find it difficult to develop an acceptable mechanism to limit the payments they are called on to make. For their part, publishers may be reluctant to deter potential authors by introducing a fee not required by their competitors.

There has been some discussion of this model in the past, for instance in the Wellcome Trust 2004 report Costs and business models in scientific research publishing, while in October last year Gavin Baker raised the topic on his blog post Submission fees: a means of defraying costs for OA journals?, and more recently there was some discussion on the liblicense listserv.

The study will involve reviewing the literature and looking at the past experience of journals using submission charges, and then exploring possible models and testing these through consultation with major stakeholders including research funders, publishers, libraries and infrastructure providers, universities and researchers (as editors, peer reviewers, readers and authors).

At this stage we would be very pleased to hear from anyone with an interest in this topic.


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