Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New series of OA journals in neuroscience

Frontiers in Neuroscience is a new series of 14 peer-reviewed OA journals in neuroscience from the Frontiers Research Foundation.  (Thanks to Talking Brains.)

From the FAQ:  "Frontiers will go public at the Society for Neuroscience meeting (Nov, 3rd -7th) in San Diego."

From the About Frontiers page:

The Frontiers Journal Series are completely open access journals published by the Frontiers Research Foundation, an international non-profit foundation based in Switzerland....Frontiers operates according to the novel Frontiers Academic Model that applies a rigorous, but totally unbiased Frontiers Review System, a separated on-line, automated and global Frontiers Evaluation System as well as a novel Frontiers Recognition System to reward the most outstanding research selected by the entire community. The primary aim of the Frontiers Research Foundation is to disseminate knowledge itself as apposed to the products of knowledge. Frontiers Research Foundation aims to promote and disseminate scholarly research to all people in all countries. The first step is to launch a new scientific publishing system to freely disseminate the highest quality peer reviewed research. Frontiers journals will address the main problems in the current publishing system.

Currently, the publishing processes is:

  • Complicated and time consuming,
  • Biased and controlled by local lobbies and powerful journals,
  • And not geared towards the needs of Authors. In this publishing system the prestige comes from where one publishes and not what one publishes.

...Frontiers journals will launch with an Author-pay business model to allow open access and free dissemination of research and gradually move to a sponsored model. The Frontiers Journal Series will use the most advanced internet technologies to bring scholarly publishing into a new generation....

Frontiers Objectives ...

To provide a new business model of serving Authors that:

Serves publishing needs of researchers Obtains sponsors to support open access research publishing.

Open Access

All Frontier articles are open access and can be downloaded for free and disseminated by the Authors or any other person or any library or indexing service provided the dissemination is not linked to any commercial activity or interest. For libraries and indexing services see conditions of dissemination. Frontiers believes that all primary research produced by one should be disseminated to all without any delay.

Frontiers stands for open access because:

It is impossible for any one person or even a major institutional library to cover all the current subscription fees and hence researchers invariably only have access to knowledge generated in a very limited number of areas.

It is definitely not in your interest to work for years on a project, invest vast amounts of energy, human and financial resources only to have a minute fraction of the researchers in the world have access to the final publication of your results. It is even worse that essentially nobody in the public has easy access to your article.

The public pays for research through taxes, but is almost entirely restricted from the knowledge produced. With the large number of journals, it is impossible for anyone to subscribe to all. The public generally must just accept the research that is selected by journalists for public highlighting.

Frontiers accepts that all countries are not equally privileged and capable of the highest quality research, but the current system simply perpetuates this inequality by ensuring that the less privileged researchers and countries cannot access the research produced by the more privileged.

The magnanimous gesture by some journals to allow open access after 6 or 12 months basically states that the privileged should get a 6-12 months head-start on the latest research. Is this a good way to resolve inequalities in the world?

Frontiers accepts that there is a valid and legitimate industry and economy around education and exposing knowledge to the people of the world, but such business should not restrict knowledge to elite circles to such an extent that this handicaps any person or groups of people.

Frontiers believes that knowledge alone can solve many of the problems in the world and every effort must therefore be made to disseminate knowledge easily, freely and without favour.

From the Frontiers Manifesto:

...Science, like Art, is not a private endeavour of individual explorers. Science is supported by society and its outcome should serve society and be transparent to whoever wants to participate. Traditionally, the main vehicle for transferring high quality and reliable scientific knowledge is via scientific, scholarly and academic journals. But most of these journals suffer from several important drawbacks. The old refereeing system is slow and opaque; the choice of the best work is heavily biased to already well-established research groups, mostly in first-world countries, and the scientific results are not fully transparent to the general public. Indeed, more than 90% of all journals charge significant subscription fees, and scientists must pay large sums to publish their papers. Who can afford to subscribe to even a fraction of the 24,000 scientific journals that exist today, especially in developing countries? And, even when the journal is "open access", it remains technical and obscure. To a large extent, economical forces motivate the big publishing companies that dominate science.

The Frontiers Research Foundation is composed of scientists, philanthropists and businessmen, who share a common vision: to dramatically improve the whole process of seeking, sharing and generating knowledge....When an article is submitted to Frontiers, it will undergo high-quality editing, copy, graphics, link and informatics-editing, and will then be published online, freely accessible to all levels of society. All readers can play an active role in this process, becoming participants in Frontiers, and contributing their interest in and for the research which is automatically accumulated into a collective ranking for each article. With time, the most esteemed papers will be progressively transformed into a non-technical language that is accessible to all.

Frontiers has developed a new business plan to ensure affordable publishing fees, through subscriptions to hardcopies, sponsor support to subsidize author costs, and powerful automated internet technologies to lower costs. Frontiers is also a journal system that awards major research prizes to authors, referees, editors, research laboratories and institutes. Strategic, scientific, social and ethical committees will serve as advisors to the Foundation. Large numbers of world leaders in science, including several Nobel Laureates, have committed to supporting the Frontiers vision....