Open Access Journal: Nucleic Acid Research

About the Journal

Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Oxford University Press. It publishes the results of leading edge research into physical, chemical, biochemical and biological aspects of nucleic acids and proteins involved in nucleic acid metabolism and/or interactions. It enables the rapid publication of papers under the following categories: Chemistry and synthetic biology; Computational biology; Gene regulation, chromatin and epigenetics; Genome integrity, repair and replication; Genomics; Molecular biology; Nucleic acid enzymes; RNA and Structural biology. The journal publishes two yearly special issues, one dedicated to biological databases, published in January since 1993, and the other on biological web servers, published in July since 2003.  According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal’s 2016 impact factor is 10.162.

NAR’s Open Access Initiative

The advent of online publication has greatly improved access to scientific content on a global scale. This has led to calls from the academic community for research to be made freely available online immediately upon publication, without the barrier of paid subscription to access. In response to these calls, and following consultation with journal contributors, Oxford University Press and the Editors of Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) launched an Open Access initiative for NAR in 2005. This means that it is no longer necessary to hold a subscription in order to read current NAR content online.

There are substantial costs associated with publishing a high quality journal such as NAR, for example in the administration of the editorial process, production of the published version, and development of online functionality. Under a subscription-based model, these costs are primarily covered by charging libraries and individuals for access to the journal’s content. Under NAR’s Open Access model, we aim to cover the costs of publication primarily through a combination of author charges and institutional payments.

The current open access charges are:

  • Author charge (per article) Member institution – £746 / $1455 / €1119 (50% discount)
  • Non-member institution – £1491 / $2909 / €2337.

Under OUP’s existing Developing Countries Initiative, authors based in Free Access countries will have the open access charged waived, and authors based in Reduced Access countries will be charged 50% of the regular open access fee.

The following figure shows the number of NAR submissions received 2002–7. One can see a non-growing trend after 2005 when NAR became fully open accessed. Undoubtedly, the high price of publishing in this journal can be counted as a leading factor.

On the other hand,  according to the table below, NAR has been receiving higher impact factor and more competitive ranking among peer journals since 2005.  Following figure illustrates that while there has been a drop in the growth rate of NAR impact factor, joining open access movement has not stopped NAR to succeed in general.


  2. Manktelow, Emily. “Oxford journals’ adventures in open access.” Learned Publishing 21.3 (2008): 200-208.

Social Media Is Scholarship

In this post I summarize a blog entitled “Social Media Is Scholarship” from The Chronicle of Higher Education (Link). The author, Mark Carrigan, is a Digital Sociologist at the University of Cambridge and a digital fellow at The Sociological Review Foundation. The author of Social Media for Academics, he is internationally recognized as a leading expert on the role of social media within higher education.

He starts with an important question: How do you find the time to use social media? While Carrigan acknowledges that social media can potentially be a Black Hole into which time and energy vanishes, there are useful tools to managing online time, such as Freedom, RescueTime, and Be Focused.  The author emphasizes that social media is not extrinsic to scholarship, neither a distinct from legitimate academic work. In fact, many faculty members use these online tools for expanding professional network, exploring publications and nourishing their ideas.

Next, Carrigan provides a case study through which his research blog is compared to his series of notebooks which he used to carry for recording his ideas and sketching out plans:

“Inevitably I forgot them [notebooks] at the most inopportune moments, reducing me to scribbling notes on scraps of paper, only to fail to transcribe them at a later date. In contrast, my research blog is accessible to me wherever I have a mobile phone or computer. The expectation that others might read my notes forces me to work out what I am trying to say, rather than scribbling down in shorthand ideas that might feel meaningful to me at the time but are often confusing later.”

More than accessibility, he addresses the productive conversations that is shaped when he shares those blog post through his social media feeds. Furthermore, through online tools users can easily categorize, tag and highlight their notes which are substantially helpful for future retrieval. On the other hand, the author argues that research blog might not be suitable for those who (1) do not have smartphones, (2) are big fan of writing by hand and (3) are not comfortable wit sharing in-progress projects.

Altogether, I believe social media provides a vast platform for higher education community. Depending on the way we use it, it can  either be a perfect assistant who saves our time, promotes our released works and  connects us to the research community OR it can just be a waste of time! If you want to make sure that you are using these platform efficiently rather than being used by them, it is a good idea to write a list of the scholarly activities you engage per week. Then determine how many of them have you tried using social media to support. Apparently, the more you use social media to support your existing activities, the easier it becomes to be actively engaged with audiences.