The publisher of the august journal Science is to launch its first open-access journal in early 2015. The non-profit American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced the new online-only broad-discipline journal, to be called Science Advances, today ahead of the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
“Science Advances would aspire to uphold editorial standards on a par with journals such as Nature Communications or PNAS [not open access], in terms of the quality of papers,” says Marcia McNutt, the editor-in-chief of Science.
That distinction suggests that the AAAS intends to place a quality bar on papers being published in its new journal, and that it will not adopt the lucrative model of open-access journals that publish any papers that peer reviewers deem scientifically sound.
The journal will be funded by up-front fees paid per article — a common open-access business model — which AAAS executive publisher and chief executive Alan Leshner says would be “within industry norms and competitive with similar journals”. (Nature Communications charges between US$4,800 and $5,200 for publication). It will also, as Leshner and McNutt explain in an editorial published today in Science, be staffed by researchers, rather than a separate team of professional editors.
Science Advances will enter a very crowded, and fast-growing, open-access publishing market. Almost every major publisher and society now has a thriving open-access business — helped along by national and institutional mandates to publish open-access research, and by the squeeze on library subscription budgets which has meant that new subscription journals find it hard to break into the market.
Some 11% of all research papers were published in immediate-open-access journals in 2013 (according to data from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science), up from a mere 2% in 2002.