Nature News Feature ‘Open Access: the true cost of science publishing’

Richard Van Noorden’s Nature v495 issue 7442 News Feature discusses the true cost of science publishing and the value publishers add for their money.
The article states that while data to support claims by either publishers of subscription journals or advocates of open access publishing has been lacking “The past few years have seen a change, however. The number of open-access journals has risen steadily, in part because of funders’ views that papers based on publicly funded research should be free for anyone to read. By 2011, 11% of the world’s articles were being published in fully open-access journals1 (see ‘The rise of open access’). Suddenly, scientists can compare between different publishing prices. A paper that costs US$5,000 for an author to publish in Cell Reports, for example, might cost just $1,350 to publish in PLoS ONE β€” whereas PeerJ offers to publish an unlimited number of papers per author for a one-time fee of $299. β€œFor the first time, the author can evaluate the service that they’re getting for the fee they’re paying,” says Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition in Washington DC.
The variance in prices is leading everyone involved to question the academic publishing establishment as never before. For researchers and funders, the issue is how much of their scant resources need to be spent on publishing, and what form that publishing will take. For publishers, it is whether their current business models are sustainable β€” and whether highly selective, expensive journals can survive and prosper in an open-access world.” ….

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