Wiley/Blackwell have just launched “Chemistry Open”.
It’s described as a “fully open access” journal.
And it costs 2500 EUR to publish one article (in the UK we have to pay VAT, so read 3000 EUR or about 4000 USD.
I’m not going to critique the chemistry (though I’m competent to do so). I’ll critique the model and practice of “Open Access” and what authors and readers get for 4000 USD per article. (I’ll mention that there is some competition – primarily Beilstein J of Org Chem (Organic Chem is a subset of chemistry so only available for some of the articles) http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjoc/about/aboutJournal.htm which is CC-BY, no author charges, no reader charges. Also Chemistry Central (BMC) http://journal.chemistrycentral.com/ which is CC-BY, 950 EUR (1200 EUR inc VAT). These are (in my expert opinion) highly reputable and equivalent in peer-review to any other chemistry journal. I declare an interested – I am (unpaid) on the editorial board of the sister BMC journal J. Cheminform.
I have provided the key links to Wiley info so you can verify my summary: Here are the instructions for authors
- Chemistry Open is CC-NC. This is not compliant with the Budapest definition of Open Access or any other definition I have seen
- The author pays 3000 EUR
- The author assigns copyright to Wiley
- The authors signs a contract restricting their rights in PRE-peer-review material (e.g. they would be debarred from posting in ArXiV)
- The author signs an agreement that every copy of the article will link to the Wiley site and journal article
This is not Open Access, it gives almost no permissions beyond simple self-archiving. The NC clause forbids almost every serious type of re-use without applying to Wiley and probably paying additional charges:
- Cannot translate to a foreign language
- Cannot re-use the diagrams
- Cannot re-use the citations
- Cannot re-use the abstract
- Cannot re-use for text-mining and other information mining
Here’s Wiley’s FAQ for “demystifying” the author-side From Submission to Publication: Demystifying the Process
The most commonly asked question is “why should I submit the manuscript in the journal’s template?”. The answer is a simple one: to
facilitate the peer-review process. In our experience, a manuscript fares better in peer
review when it is well organised and formatted in an easily read manner. Using the template
ensures that our reviewers get a standard manuscript layout with the graphics appearing
in the appropriate place….
PMR: Rubbish. Scientists are used to reviewing from a wide range of sources and they have to get used to the unnecessary practices of publishers. As an example I reviewed a grant proposal last night. It was as complex as a paper and had its own particular set of questions and free text. I *enjoyed* doing it. For publishers to tell the world that only they can organize peer-review is rubbish. We review grants, job applications, software and data, theses, etc. *We* are the ones who know what to do
Of course, if a manuscript is accepted we ask for the production data in a completely different
format, often to the dismay of our authors. There is a method to our madness! When a
manuscript is accepted, revised by the authors and the final version received, the text
undergoes what we term “coding”. This process involves a number of technical steps to
standardise the presentation of units, symbols, non-breaking spaces, table formats and other
style requirements of the journal in both the print and online formats….
PMR: Do I need to spell out why the publishing industry is 20 years adrift and why the production costs are insanely high? It costs 6 USD to process a manuscript on ArXiV and lots of people read them!
Another commonly asked question is “why are figures embedded in Word unusable?” Again,
the answer is simple: quality! When a figure is embedded in Word, a certain amount of
resolution is irreparably lost from the image. While this is acceptable for viewing on screen or
even printing from your office printer, high quality production requires high-resolution
images. For this reason we ask authors to supply the graphics, including the image for the
Table of Contents, as separate files in their original format,
In an Open world authors can make images available in whatever forma they like. I haven’t heard the world complaining that Figshare http://figshare.com/ trashes images and – if it does – I expect Mark Hahnel would create a workaround in a week. An image in Word is processable without destruction – I have worked with Microsoft for 2 years. I suspect that the problem is in the publisher process which generally destroys considerable amounts of information.
With chemical structures and schemes, we ask that authors use our ChemDraw template.
Our copy editors will adjust all images that do not meet our requirements; if a chemical scheme
already meets our standards
Yes, and then Wiley destroys the Chemdraw files. Admittedly almost all publishers do this. Some because they aren’t competent to process them, some because it costs, some because they have downstream walled gardens of chemical information which can sell for hundreds of millions of USD annually (this is true of Elsevier, ACS and Wiley). Open information would be disruptive (I shall recount Elsevier’s correspondence with me elsewhere) . If chemistry journals published these, and the spectra and the crystallography in the form they received them and as supplemental information then the world would immediately gain huge benefit. But in http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/open.201100010/asset/supinfo/open_201100010_sm_miscellaneous_information.pdf?v=1&s=d34b9827460dd2e4675043163cdc1cd10d81793a they have reduced the machine-processable Chemdraw files to unreadable PDFs. This is “publisher added value”. Simple stick the Chemdraw files on the web site and *I* will show what can really be done with them. [Note: Wiley have a large market reselling chemical spectra data so they know how to do this technically.]
That’s enough for you to get the idea. Authors can pay 3000 EUR to publish in Chemistry Open. I wonder why anyone would?
I suspect the members of the editorial board – and I know a few – have no idea of what Wiley is imposing on authors and readers. I hope some of them will feel as angry as I do (if they feel 10% of my anger that’s good enough). If this is the “Golden heaven” of OA that we are moving towards I want none of it.
The sad fact is that the OA community doesn’t (yet) care. Gold is not necessarily better than Green or nothing if we still leave publishers in control.