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AAAS announces open-access journal

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.

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    Sergio Stagnaro said:

    I participated in the past in similar discussions on the opportunities of open access journals, also in the site of Science. In my opinion, if a scientist wishes to be updated by reading the number of possible opinions of the authors, aiming to compare them, necessarily he must have free acccess to the greatest number of these magazines, in the interest of scientific advances.

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