Action Potential

Open access in neuroscience

A new policy in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrates the current push towards open access publication. Researchers can pay to have their article freely available immediately upon publication, starting with all articles submitted as of January 1, 2008. It is interesting, because J Neurosci words the new policy a bit like an experiment, essentially telling the authors and funding agencies to put their money where their mouth is. If they want open access, as many are calling for, they can help support it. Hopefully we can return to this policy in 6 months or so to see how many authors took this option, and who funded those choosing to “pay for play.”


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    Debra Speert said:

    This policy sounds very similar to the one permanently in place at PNAS. Although I’m excited to see how the community responds, I’m a little disappointed that J Neurosci didn’t come to the table with a new idea on how to make open access possible.

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    Maxine said:

    Yes, this option is used by quite a few publishers now, including PNAS as Debra writes.

    Some journals seem to find the technology quite hard to implement. I was at one meeting fairly recently where a scientist told how he had opted for this “pay to make open” feature, but still found his article behind the subscription firewall. This was not a Nature journal or PNAS. My take on what he reported is that it was a technical issue at the publisher website, rather than any deliberate ploy (this last option is what the scientist chose to believe).

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    bill said:

    Since I cannot read the linked article (it’s behind the paywall) I don’t know whether JN intends to put their money where their mouth is — will they reduce subscription charges in accordance with OA uptake?