ACS Open Access

American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications is a collection of over 60 scientific journals related to chemistry, chemicals, and related sciences. The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) is one of ACS Publications most influential journals, with an impact factor of 13.858. The cost to “purchase” a single JACS article is $40.00 for 48 hours of access, an unreasonable value, especially for small businesses who are trying to do innovative science but can’t afford to access valuable journal articles to guide their research.

The ACS Publications website has an “Open Access” tab. When I navigated to it, I was confused by what I found. The website had a flavorful list of five open access journals and a price list. It turns out, you can pay a hefty some if you want your research to be open access:

For instance, if you like watermelon you can pay up to $5000 for your manuscript to appear in ACS AuthorChoice, $4000 for the putting it in the journal and up to $1000 for the license. If you’re a pear and your manuscript is selected by the editors as an editors’ choice for open access, you still have to pay the $500+ license fee.

I decided to take a deeper look at one of the open access journals, ACS Central Science. According to the description, ACS Central Science is a highly selective, multidisciplinary journal that publishes articles “of interest to the broad chemistry and scientific community.” The editors publish no more than 200 articles per year and the journal has an impact factor of 7.939. Looking over the latest issue, I found that about half of the articles are full research articles, while the other half are labeled “outlooks” or “first reactions.” I don’t really know what that means but after skimming through two of the articles, it appears that a first reaction article is a two-page glimpse into results and future work. These articles have no abstract and appear to contain quite a bit of background information.

Needless to say, I am less than impressed by ACS publications consortium of open access journal. I hope they will have more open access and at lower cost to the researchers in the near future.

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