Open Access, Accessibility, and Burden Shifting

For this week’s post, I looked at the Archives of Scientific Psychology, an open access journal published starting in 2013 by the American Psychological Association. In its introductory article, the authors describe it as “a new journal for a new era.” The journal was created based on a desire for psychological scientists to interface more effectively with the public, and to make the process of psychological research (e.g., methodology) more transparent. Authors who publish in this journal are expected to make their data and methods available and to provide not only a scientific abstract but also a non-technical, jargon-free abstract that is more accessible for the public. Reviewer comments and author responses may also be published alongside the article itself, to make it more clear that the paper was rigorously reviewed, and reviewers and authors may choose to make themselves known to one another during the review process. Finally, the journal strives to produce new content frequently and on a timely basis after submission to keep things current.

All of these unorthodox policies are meant to demystify the publishing process and make scientific research more accessible to the general public. The introductory article states that the journal hopes that its model will one day be the norm for scientific articles. While the authors of this article acknowledge that the journal puts more of a burden on contributors (and possibly reviewers) by asking for extra information and speeding up the timeline, they also state that contributors will benefit greatly by having their article made available to a wide audience without a membership fee. Interestingly, I don’t see anything in this article about how much contributors will have to pay to be published here.

The journal explains its role in the open access movement in a scientific way, presenting data that argues for and against open access and sharing some statistics that suggest that open access is here to stay. Essentially, it seems like the journal’s creators are moving forward to keep up with this momentum and not attending to potential drawbacks.

Overall, I am supportive of this journal and curious to see how the articles in it actually look and read and how impactful they are on the field. It seems like the Archives goes beyond the typical standards for many other open access journals (i.e., available to a large audience without a membership fee, with the cost burden being placed on contributors instead). This journal really goes the extra mile to make the publishing process transparent and to try to benefit both the audience and the contributors (though perhaps more so for one than the other).

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