Let’s count the similarities to PLOS ONE, shall we?
- Supported by article fees. To their credit, however, there will be no fees for the first year. Honestly, I might submit an article while it’s free, but probably not after that. Why pay a fee more than ten times the cost of PeerJ?
- Does not review for “impact.”
- Article level metrics.
Innovations? Maybe that there is an option for open peer review. But it’s not clear what that will look like, so it’s hard to tell.
Like Science Advances, Royal Society Open Science will also “accept articles referred from other Royal Society journals.” Nice, but you do not need a new journal specifically to do that. As I noted before, it’s not clear what advantage having an article “referred” to this journal has versus taking my article to another non-Royal Society journal. Plus, why not accept articles referred from a lot of other journals besides Royal Society journals?
I just don’t see the point of this journal. I just don’t get what this journal is supposed to do for me that a ream of existing journals don’t already for me.
Unless you read very carefully, this news article from Science makes it seem like this is the Society’s first foray into open access publishing, but it is not. They already have Open Biology, running since 2011. It is still free to publish in Open Biology, even after more than two full years of publication. This might suggest that this “selective” new journal is not attracting the number of articles that it would like to.
I also note that, unlike Science, Royal Society journals have had the option of authors paying a (hefty) fee to make article open access for a while now.
I’m also puzzled by Steve Harnad’s pokes against the “gold” model of open access. We are just nowhere near enough institutions creating repositories for authors to self-archive to do the job. Maybe it will evolve towards that, but I don’t think that model is ready yet.
Perhaps the take home message from these new open access journals is this:
The creation of PLOS ONE was a landmark in the history of early twenty-first scientific publishing. Look at how many publishers have taken the PLOS ONE model, and run with it, and added no real innovations. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore PLOS ONE. It changed the landscape of scientific publishing – and I would say for the better – more than anything else I can think of since the millenium.
AAAS creates another Zune journal
World’s first scientific publisher launches new open access journal
Royal Society Joins Open-Access Bandwagon