Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oxford hybrid OA journal waives fees for authors from subscribing institutions

The Journal of Experimental Botany is one of the 50 Oxford hybrid journals.  On April 1, it tweaked its business model and waived its publication fee for authors from institutions that pay for a subscription.  For now, it's the only Oxford Open journal to use this variation on the theme.  From today's announcement:

Journal of Experimental Botany announces free open access for authors at subscribing institutions

Oxford Journals is pleased to announce that all primary papers published in the Journal of Experimental Botany after 1 April 2007 are being published without any open access charge if the corresponding authors institution has a current subscription to the journal.

The Journal of Experimental Botany (JXB) launched the first phase of its open access (OA) experiment in April 2004 and since this time approximately 30% of primary research articles have been made freely available online from the time of publication. In the first phase of the experiment, publication costs were partially met in part by OA fees from authors (250 per paper) and by two grants from the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

The unique feature of the new phase of JXBs open access experiment is that institutional subscriptions will now pay not only for content (including reviews and special issues, which are not eligible for open access) but also for open access publication. Corresponding authors from subscribing institutions will have no OA charges to pay, while others who wish to take advantage of OA publication in JXB will have to pay 1500 ($2800/2250).

We are working hard at building a viable business model that can provide a sustainable service to the plant science community, explains Professor Jerry Roberts, Editor-in-Chief, based at the University of Nottingham. The cost of a full online subscription to the JXB in 2007 is 816 ($1469, 1224). On a cost per page basis this is a very competitive price; it is cheaper than any other comparable plant science journal without page charges or subsidy, and will now include the additional benefit of providing free open access for member authors. ...

Instead of Oxford Opens standard optional open access model, which offers a two tier author payment system with substantial discounts for authors from subscribing institutions, this initiative makes open access completely free for these authors, thus putting the onus on libraries to support open access via their members.

For more details, see the journal's page on open access.

Comment.  Kudos to JXB for exploring the large "solution space" of OA and trying this innovation.  For authors at subscribing institutions, JXB is now in effect a no-fee OA journal.  While this policy will increase the incentive for institutions to subscribe, it should also increase the rate of author uptake and the volume of OA content.  I don't know another hybrid journal to try this exact variation.  Many hybrid journals reduce the fee (without waiving it) for authors from subscribing institutions, and another botany journal, Plant Physiology, waives the fee for authors who are members of the society publishing the journal, the American Society of Plant Biology.