The Reality behind Open Access Journals!

For this blog post, I decided to choose the open access journal called Heliyon (Heliyon.com).  Heliyon is an open access journal which is has partnered with the Journal of Development Economics (JED), which is one of the top journals in my field: Agricultural Economics. Reading through Heliyon’s website allowed me to have a better understanding of how Open Access journals operate.

Heliyon is an open access journal located in London (United Kingdom) and has partnered with over 1000 journals, including many of Elsevier journals to provide a fast and easy route to submit and publish manuscripts. From my understanding, there are two ways to publish an article in Heliyon. Authors can either submit their manuscripts on Heliyon’s website using the ELSVIER editorial system or transfer their manuscripts from any Elsevier journal to Heliyon. In both of these cases, the authors have to follow Heliyon’s publication procedures (https://www.heliyon.com/publication-process/). However, in the latter case, they don’t need to reformat their papers before transferring it to Heliyon.

“ The authors who choose to transfer their manuscript in Heliyon will enjoy:

  • High Visibility – Heliyon is abstracted and indexed in the Web of Science™ Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), PubMed Central, and Scopus. Papers from Heliyon have been covered in top tier media sources including The New York Times, CNN, Science Magazine, and Newsweek.
  • Editorial Excellence – Heliyon’s expert editorial team and editorial board of over 900 researchers from all disciplines ensures your paper receives ample editorial support.
  • Fast Publication – typically, first editorial decisions are made within three days of submission and papers are published online within only four months” (Heliyon Website).

However, authors who want to publish their manuscript in Heliyon have to pay an Article publication fee of $1,250. I found this fee a little high. A quick browsing through a few Open access journals website show that all of them have such fees. The fees are referred to as Article Publication Charge (APC).

I genuinely wasn’t aware that Open access journals charge such high APCs for  publication. I must admit, it was very surprising to me. I believe that such fees constitute an impediment to the Open Access movement. For instance, most graduate students (or undergraduate students for that matter) will find it difficult to publish in those journals because of those fees. For an advancement of the Open Access movement, I think journals should work towards a considerable reduction of APCs and ultimately a complete suppression.