Personally, I’ve never cited an open access journal for my research in horticulture. It’s not that I’m concerned with their credibility; simply put, I’ve yet to find an open access journal that specifically addresses the narrow scope of my research. However, there are several open access journals in other areas of horticulture, one being the International Journal of Horticulture and Floriculture (IJHF).

As its title implies, IJHF is published in multiple countries, specifically Brooklyn, NY (United States) and Asokoro, Abuja (Nigeria) by International Scholars Journals Publishing Corporation. Upon reading the journal’s “Aims and Scope” summary, I found it to be generic and somewhat vague in its representation of the journal itself. I felt as though it could have been written about most any scientific, open-access journal. According to the summary, the overall goal of IJHF is to act as a tool for horticulturalists and floriculturists to convene and share their research ideas. In addition, the journal aims to stay on the cutting-edge of horticultural research, and it also aims to liberate researchers of financial constraints as it is free to submit manuscripts and to access published articles. However, upon acceptance of a manuscript, authors must pay a $500 handling fee.

In contrast to its “Aims and Scope” summary, IHJF’s open access policy is more descriptive and clear. The publisher addresses open access by explaining that the journal is freely accessible internationally, and there is no fee for researchers to submit their manuscripts. In addition, they mention that even though IJHF is free to download and use (as long as it is properly cited), the researchers will maintain copyright ownership of their work, as well as the ability to allow or refuse third party usage. IJHF, according to the publishers, positions itself at the forefront of the open access movement, focusing on the idea of spreading knowledge freely in hopes of international collaboration and education.

Honestly, journal accessibility has been the least of my concerns in my graduate studies. Since students have access to journals through university subscriptions and free interlibrary loans, I have yet to encounter a situation in which subscription fees have hindered obtainability. It seems to me, those who have the desire to read peer-reviewed articles (e.g., grad students, researchers, professors, etc.) have access anyway, and those who would have to pay for a subscription would much rather read a trade journal. It would be interesting to know if changing a journal’s status to open access actually increases number of readers. Obviously, my observations of journal readership is limited to my time spent at Virginia Tech in the small Department of Horticulture. I am aware that accessibility may affect readership in other disciplines, universities and countries much differently.

Do you think open access affects readership in your field?