09 October 2007

OA move by a TA publisher

Three friends and colleagues have recently drawn my attention to a letter they have received from Benthan Science Publishers - a relatively small outfit in the STM world, with 79 highly priced titles. Bentham is seeking Editorial Board members for a new 'open access' (i.e., author charges) journal, The Open Information Science Journal. This is part of a move on the publisher's part to create 200 new 'open access' titles across a range of disciplines and to be, in its own words, "...the largest publisher of quality open access journals..." Sure - the world needs another 200 journals desperately, doesn't it?

Curiously, the Open Information Science Journal is not listed at the Bentham Open site, which presumably means that the editorial arrangements have not yet been established.

Bentham may have a hard time with trying to implement author charging in the information science field, where there are no precedents, where the research community is relatively small and where the existing quality journals are more than sufficient to satisfy the output of quality papers. The author charges quoted by Bentham are:

  • Letters: The publication fee for each published Letter article submitted is $600.

  • Research Articles: The publication fee for each published Research article is $800.

  • Mini-Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Mini-Review article is $600.

  • Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Review article is $900.

Bentham may also have a hard time getting editors and editorial board members for some of their journals - all three of my colleagues have turned down the invitation to join the Editorial Board

The interesting aspect of this move is that a publisher has seen a business opportunity in author charging - there is no doubt, judging from my more than 25 years experience of editing journals that there are many poor quality papers around with authors desperate to get them published. How likely is it that a publisher, whose business model requires author charges, will resist the tempation to accept what the quality journals consider to be dross?

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