Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 09, 2008

More on OA and the quality of peer review

Stevan Harnad, Would Gold OA Publishing Fees Compromise Peer-Reviewed Journal Quality? Open Access Archivangelism, June 8, 2008.

Summary:  Some authors today no doubt try to buy their way into fee-based Gold OA journals, and some Gold OA journals that are short on authors no doubt lower their quality standards to win authors. But something very similar is already true of the lower-end subscription-based journals that prevail today, and this will continue to be true of lower-end journals if and when Gold OA becomes universal. The demand for quality, however, (by [some] authors, referees and users) will ensure that the existing journal quality hierarchy continues to exist, regardless of the cost-recovery model (whether user-institution subscription fees or author-institution peer-review fees). The high-quality authors will still want to publish in high-quality rather than low-quality journals, and journals will still need to strive to generate track-records as high-quality journals -- not just (1) to attract the high-quality authors and work, but (2) to retain the high-quality peer-reviewers and (3) to retain users. Usage will in turn be (4) openly tracked by rich OA impact metrics, which will complement peer perceptions of the journal's (and author's) track record for quality.

Comment.  All true.  For more, see my 2004 article, Whether the upfront payment model corrupts peer review at open-access journals, and my 2006 article, Open access and quality.