Open access journals (A good or bad idea?)

For this Blog post I decided to write about one of the renowned open access journals of my discipline (Urban Planning and Design field/journal of Urban Planning). During reading scopes and aims of this open source journal, I was thinking in general is open access journal a good idea? Moreover, is it fair to provide the publishing expenses of a journal by high rate of publication fee for accepted manuscripts and in turn let the articles freely accessed by anyone? In other words, is it acceptable that the publishers of science pay for spreading their findings and information instead of readers and users of those data?

Although the idea of open access data and journals has some very good idealistic ideas on its behind, from my point of view this idea still has some defects, especially in some cases such below. Maybe with some adjustments this idea could turn to an ideal one. I will be happy if you share your ideas about open access journals and specially the following one with me.

Journal of Urban Planning:

Urban Planning is a new international peer-reviewed open access journal of urban studies aimed at advancing understandings and ideas of humankind’s habitats – villages, towns, cities, mega cities – in order to promote progress and quality of life. This journal is one of the Cogitatio’s journals.

All of Cogitatio’s journals including this journal are open access, that is, they can be accessed free of charge by any reader, anywhere in the world, regardless of affiliation. This means that not only researchers backed by well-funded institutions, but also policy-makers, NGOs, journalists, practitioners, students, and an interested public have free access to the research articles. This increases the exposure gained by new works and allows them to be disseminated to a much wider audience than is possible through traditional subscription journals.

The article processing charge (APC) for each manuscript accepted for publication is €900 (plus VAT if applicable). Editorials, Commentaries and Book Reviews are published free of charge. The journal does not have any submission fees.

As an open access publisher, Cogitatio is committed to ensuring permanent and universal free access to all published articles, unlike closed-access journals which limit their readership to those able to pay subscription fees. This means that Cogitatio does not receive any income from either subscriptions or article views/downloads. As publishing is not without its costs, the journal needs to offset all production costs through article processing charges.

Authors who demonstrate financial need and cannot afford the article processing charge can apply for a waiver during the article submission procedure (waiver requests during or after peer-review will not be considered). Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may be granted in cases of genuine need. Due to the numerous costs associated to open access publishing, Cogitatio can only accept to process a limited number of waived submissions per issue.