Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hybrid OA journal program from WorldSciNet and Imperial College

WorldSciNet has launched WorldSciNet Open Access, a hybrid OA journal program that applies to all 133 journals published by WorldScientific and all eight journals published by Imperial College Press.  From today's announcement:

Authors now have the option to pay $2,500 for their articles to be Open Access. Open access choice will apply to ALL of World Scientific and Imperial College Press journals with electronic version.

World Scientific and Imperial College Press is aware of the scientific community's desire for more open access publications so that scientific information can be shared by all. Thus, We have decided to offer authors the choice to do so. Nearly 6,000 Research articles every year will now have the potential to be open access....

More from the WorldSciNet Open Access page:

Similar to the traditional publishing model, articles from authors opting for open access will be peer-reviewed, undergo the same quality production process and made available in both print and electronic formats. They will be similarly included in appropriate Abstract and Indexing Services and all the articles will be registered in CrossRef.

When authors choose WorldSciNet OPEN ACCESS, they will retain the copyright to (not of) the article but will be required to sign the WorldSciNet Open Access License to Publish. Each WorldSciNet Open Access article will be clearly identified with an "Open Access" icon in both the e-version and the print format.

From the OA License to Publish:

As the author(s) you will retain copyright in the article and grant World Scientific the exclusive right to publish it in printed, electronic or other form throughout the world; the online version will be available online immediately upon publication to readers free of charge and subject only to World Scientific’s Open Access Licence, which is based on the Creative Commons Attribution Licence....

By signing this form the Contributor(s) agree to grant World Scientific the exclusive right and licence to commercially make use of the Article (and the abstract) including the right to publish, transmit, store, translate, distribute, sell, reproduce, use and distribute the Article throughout the world in printed and electronic form of the journal and in derivative works, in all languages and any form of media of expression available now or in the future and to license others to do so....

At the same time, WorldSciNet announced its first full OA journal:

...[W]e will be launching our first fully open access journal, Optics and Photonics Letters, in 2008. Optics and Photonics Letters (OPL) is an open access journal which offers rapid dissemination of original and timely results in various fields of optics and photonics, with emphasis on peer-reviewed short communications.

Articles submitted for publication before January 2008 will enjoy a 50% waiver on publication charges....

Comment.  I commend WorldScientific for its full OA journal and (as usual) support the hybrid program only to the extent that it actually encourages author uptake and provides OA.  Unfortunately, WorldSciNet Open Access does not score well on my nine criteria for a hybrid journal program.  On the plus side, the OA edition is the same as the published edition, and WorldSciNet is not retreating from its green policy (say) by requiring self-archivers to pay for gold OA.  It lets authors retain copyright "except as...provided" by the OA license to publish, and says the license is based on the CC-BY license.  This looks like a plus until we read the details.  In fact the license gives the publisher exclusive rights --either to all print and electronic distribution or to all commercial print and electronic distribution.  Either way, it's more restrictive than a CC-BY license.  The ambiguity of the license on this point makes it unclear whether authors may deposit their articles in repositories independent of the publisher.  The publisher does not apparently waive publication fees in case of economic hardship and does not promise to reduce its subscription prices in proportion to author uptake.  It is silent on whether authors must pay for the OA option in order to live up to a prior, independent agreement with their funding agency.