Open Access at Copernicus

In further travels I have come across Copernicus GmbH, “A Spin-Off of the Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie und Sonnensystemforschung”. This is listed in DOAJ and publishes Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (which is of interest to me as I have a colleague who is translating legacy data into CMLReact – you can see why I want to get access to this data). The licence is clear:

Personalized Copyright under the Creative Commons Attribution, NonCommercial and ShareAlike Licence

That’s it. 15 seconds on the website is all I need. Whereas I have spent HOURS trawling through some of the other publishers trying to figure what is going on.
Since this post is so short, I can add some cost information – and I mean cost. The journal offers 6 different pricing schemes. They differ only in the technologies used to author the documents. Submit a hamburger and it costs more than to submit a cow. It represents the COST of processing the article. The worse the manuscript, the longer it takes, the greater the anger of the technical editor. It costs more. And look closely, there is a factor of 250% between the best and the worst. That means that most of the COST is in processing difficult manuscripts. As it should be.

Service Charges
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics is committed to the Open Access model of publishing. This ensures free web access to the results of research and the maximum visibility for published papers. Copernicus Publications is also committed to fast publication with each paper published on the web as soon as possible at each stage of the review process. The Open Access model is supported by many international initiatives for scientific publishing. However it requires the author to pay the costs of the review process, typesetting, web publication and long term archiving. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics is using automated software to keep down costs as much as possible. Author(s) can also choose how to submit text and figures in order to keep total costs to a minimum. The costs for the production, handling and distribution of printed and/or CD-ROM issues, however, are covered separately by subscriptions.
For journals with a public discussion part, such as for ACP and ACPD, the publications first in the discussion part and, second, in the main part are regarded as one publication in the “classical” sense where the evaluation is not public. Therefore, the above service charges will be levied for the publication in the discussion part, while the publication in the main part will be free of charge, if the revised article is submitted along the same category (or lower) as the original manuscript; otherwise the difference in the service charges will be levied. Please consider that a discussion paper has up to three times more pages than the corresponding paper in the “classical” two column style due to the interactive screen format for improved online reading (landscape, bigger font).
The payment of service charges includes:

  • Online manuscript registration and submission
  • Rigorous but fair peer-review, incl. public comments for Discussion Journals
  • Professional processing of figures and movies
  • Typesetting, editing and formatting in pdf LaTeX
  • LaTeX macros and WORD templates for free use
  • Immediate Open Access publication of each article
  • Article alert service
  • Inclusion in the Copernicus Online Library (incl. mirror-servers and backup facilities) as well as in international scientific databases, index and reference machines
  • Long-term e-archiving via Portico as well as printed archiving via copyright libraries worldwide.

PMR: Unfortunately the website didn’t paste into the post well and you will have to visit their site:
Essentially a manuscript prepared in their preferred TeX format costs 23 EUR per page and one sent on printed pages through the mail costs 68 EUR per page. And various flavours of Word are intermediate.

Sample Calculation
The original manuscript shows an amount of 10 pages, the author follows the guidelines according to Category 1. The Discussion Paper will then have ca. 30 pages calculated with 23,- EUR net per page = 690,- EUR + German VAT. The final revised paper in the main journal will then be free of charge.
Copy-editing Charges
For copy-editing (requested by the Editor) an additional fee will be added of:

  1. 10,- EUR net per full page in the Main Journal (peer-reviewed), and
  2. 3,- EUR net per full page in the Discussion Journal

As my current posts are concerned with licence clarity and not cost I shan’t comment further. But I commend Copernicus for clarity of licence (though I disagree with their choice and gently suggest CC-BY – what is there to lose?) and for a self-explanatory and compelling cost model.
And , who knows, when Hannah has developed CMLReact for atmospheric reactions, there’s an obvious first choice of journal.
And, maybe after that, there will be a category 0:
The text file is compiled in accordance to the Technical Instructions for CML-XML as .xml and transformed into …” 15 EUR/page.

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