Open Sesame

None of my go-to journals are open access.  I checked all of the journals of societies I belong to and the ones my advisor frequently submits to.  All of them are owned by Elsevier (side note: What exactly is Elseivier and why do they own so many journals? According to their website they publish 2,500 journals. That’s crazy).

Also while perusing the Elsevier website I found this lovely article.  In honor of the 2015 Nobel laureates, Elsevier is releasing a “selection” of their research published with the conglomerate.  By doing this, Elsevier acknowledges that value of the public having access to great works of science, so why do they wait until the author wins a Nobel prize to allow the public to view it?  Most of the work released ranged from the early 70s to mid 90s (although there were a few more recent papers).  The vise grip that the publication industry hold on academia is a tremendous problem.

This blog post isn’t about Elsevier, however.  It’s about an open access journal in my field.

I looked up the Directory of Open Access Journals and searched for any journal involving developmental neuroscience.  I couldn’t find anything.  I did however learn that a majority of the open access journals in psychology are non-american and in languages other than english.  Go figure.  Capitalism.

I finally settled on Frontiers in Neuroscience.  Apparently all of the Frontiers journals are open access.  Super cool.

Here is their open access statement:

Frontiers’ philosophy is that all research is for the benefit of humankind. Research is the product of an investment by society and therefore its fruits should be returned to all people without borders or discrimination, serving society universally and in a transparent fashion.

That is why Frontiers provides online free and open access to all of its research publications. For more information on open access click here.

Open Access funder and institutional mandates: Frontiers is fully compliant with open access mandates, by publishing its articles under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). Funder mandates such as those by the Wellcome Trust (UK), National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Australian Research Council (Australia) are fully compatible with publishing in Frontiers. Authors retain copyright of their work and can deposit their publication in any repository. The work can be freely shared and adapted provided that appropriate credit is given and any changes specified.

I love the line that “research is a product of an investment by society.”  That is so true.  All of my research (and my advisor’s research) is funded by NIH grants.  Taxpayers deserve to have access to the labor they pay for.  My stipend is paid for by state tax dollars (and student tuition?  Maybe?  I need to look into that).

Frontiers is based out of Switzerland and the Neuroscience journal has editors from Isreal, the USA, and Switzerland.  Frontiers is a huge journal in the field and has a not-too-shabby impact factor of 3.7.  ALthough it’s great that these journals exist, I’m not sure that they contribute to more open access in the field.  It’s almost like they check the box for a neuroscience journal that is open access and allow the rest of the journals to continue their for-profit model.  For example, Elsevier reported a proft margin of 37% in 2014 (cite).  That’s absurd.   Frontiers is still a for profit company and authors have to “pay to play.”  I don’t think Frontiers is the end all be all of academic publishing (here is an interesting blog post about some of the problems they face), but it’s got to be better than the alternative.

Did you notice that I finally figured out how to embed links!  Super exciting.

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