Open Access

The open-access journal in geosciences I chose is Biogeosciences. I’ve read a few papers from this journal but never really realized it’s open access till I did my research for this blogpost. I guess for students in an R1 university in United States like Virginia Tech, it does not really matter if a journal is open access or not – we are privileged enough to have subscription to it from the library. However, there was this one time I tried to access a really old paper from SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), and Virginia Tech surprisingly did not have access to it. I could be charged for something like $25 but I discovered SciHub. Then I started to realize it would be hard for people at universities without enough journal subscription to access papers, and probably people from underdeveloped countries as well.

Biogeosciences is based in Europe and founded by the European Geosciences Union. It accepts articles about the interactions between physical, chemical and biological processes on earth and other planets within different spheres. In its objective, Biogeosciences emphasizes an interdisciplinary view.

There is not a particular page on the Biogeosciences website that talks about open access in particular. However, on the About page, it does talk about a two-stage publication process, and in the first stage, “a rapid access review” and papers are “immediately published” after this review on the website. I’m not particularly sure if it is a common thing for open-access journals, but this emphasis on its website and rapid publication seems like a theme in terms of open publication. There is also a flat rate towards article processing charges, which is 77 euros for LaTex submissions and 93 euros for Word submissions. As far as I know, for traditional journals, they tend to charge per page and per figure, while open-access journals tend to have a flat rate per article.

7 Replies to “Open Access”

  1. 77 euros is indeed cheap as a flat rate for paper publication. As Virginia Tech students, we are certainly blessed by the subscriptions VT has to so many different journals, that we often don’t feel the need to look for open access journals in our field to download papers from or publish too. However, I also feel that faculty and professors, in engineering at least, don’t highlight such journals and how helpful they can be in some cases. This might be due to quality of work being published in open access journals in comparison with the work paid for. I personally think such opinion or perception for open access journal is somehow biased and not totally fair.

  2. As you said, I think one of the benefits associated with Open Access is that journals can post more often and that readers can have instant access to the articles after publishing. The first time I really started thinking about which journals are Open Access was when I began working on my Working Plan for my PhD. I quickly discovered that I could only access some journals when I was present on Virginia Tech’s campus, hence the subscription to these journals that you were talking about earlier. Open Access journals definitely make my life a little bit easier.

  3. I wonder if this rapid access review is as rigorous as the peer reviewing process of paid subscription journals? In the open access journals I found the cost upwards of $2000 to $2500 per article which seems a huge discrepancy between this one and them and I wonder why the cost discrepancy. Perhaps the journals I investigated are managed by a for profit organization and this is a non-profit? If they’re both non-profit then why the price discrepancy?

  4. I have also read many papers from Biogeosciences on atmospheric ice nucleation for one of my projects. I was not aware that it is an open access journal, either. Directory of Open Access Journals includes it. It seems very common in many fields that top journals are not open access. It becomes a real problem if the library does not have the subscriptions, or we do not have a VPN when off-campus. Open access journals make us easier to get access to papers. Also, it is fairly cheap if a flat rate is less than 100 euros since many open-access journals in my field (plant pathology) charge more than $1000 per paper.

  5. Thank you for the post. I also agree that we are lucky that we have access to a big number of journals through our university. However, I believe there is a high need to have higher numbers of open access journals in the various fields of study. Specially in the countries where having access to traditional journals may be so expensive and not affordable.

  6. SciHub has saved my life and my pocket many years now. Back in Greece most of the universities do not provide access to papers so it was crucial for me when I found this platform. Without it I couldn’t have adequate access to research papers in order to write me undergrad and master thesis.

  7. Hi Yezi! I definitely agree with your post. I think that open access journals give the public access to information that they would not be privy to if the information was stuck in hard-to-access academic journals. I think that paying 77€ for a publication is not bad at all. When you compare this to the potential price of access to one journal article being upwards of $45 if you do not have access to it, that would definitely limit the number of people that cite your article. If the name of the game is citations, why not make your articles public to gain more citations?

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