Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, January 26, 2007

Successful declarations of independence

Declan Butler, Rebels hold their own in journal price war, Nature, January 25, 2007 (accessible only to subscribers).  Excerpt:

Last August, the entire editorial board of the Elsevier journal Topology quit in a row over pricing. Now they are setting up a non-profit competitor to be published by the London Mathematical Society. The Journal of Topology, announced last week, will launch next January and will cost US$570 per year, compared with Topology’s $1,665.

It’s not the first such move. Over the past eight years, around a dozen cheap or open-access journals have been created to compete directly with an expensive commercial journal, many by editorial boards that had quit the original publication in protest. So, do the cheaper journals fare better than their rivals?

As far as scientific credibility is concerned, the answer is often yes — many of the challengers have obtained impact factors (a measure of the citations its papers receive) higher than their competitor. For example, the Journal of Machine Learning Research, set up in 2001 by editors of Springer’s Machine Learning, has a 2005 impact factor of 4.027. “That’s the highest in artificial intelligence, automation and control, and ninth in all of computer science,” says Leslie Pack Kaelbling, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the journal’s editor-in-chief. Machine Learning has a 2005 impact factor of just 3.1....

PS:  For more, see my list of 14 journal declarations of independence.  I have three more from 2006 to add to the list when I can find the time.