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Georgina Gurnhill, director of marketing & communications, PeerJ FEATURE


Open-access publishing P


eerJ was launched in February 2013 to establish a highly credible, scientifically sound peer-reviewed OA journal for as low a cost as possible. That meant $99 for the ability to publish every year for the rest of a scientist’s life. We wanted to show the world that it doesn’t have to cost thousands, either through subscription charges or OA fees, to publish quality science. OA is a burgeoning area in publishing and our model is a pioneering one. Our authors truly value the fact that they can publish with us at low cost and high speed, whilst we take pride in the high- quality submission and transparent peer-review process their research undergoes. With the proliferation of OA publishing


models and the constant attack on institutional budgets, the most pressing challenge for these groups is choice – and how to make the right one. Research tells us that academics still want rigorous and rapid peer review, fast publication of articles and global exposure for their work. Institutions are keen to nurture a sustainable and cost-effective approach to OA, and funders are looking to optimise where and how their money gets spent.


It is the duty of all OA publishers to be clear and transparent in their pricing


policies, while enabling researchers to get their work published through a quality process at minimal cost for maximum exposure.


So far we’ve only had really positive response from our authors, and they are already recommending PeerJ to their peers and colleagues. We have many author interviews on our site which validate our approach. PeerJ has spent the last year demonstrating market fit and strong customer demand and in


‘We’ve had authors call PeerJ innovative, fast, efficient, beautiful and friendly’


that time, we have published nearly 900 articles across both PeerJ and PeerJ PrePrints, representing the work of almost 3,000 authors. We’ve had authors call PeerJ innovative, fast, efficient, beautiful and friendly, and we are truly honoured that they continue to join us as pioneers in a new way of publishing.


Alicia Wise, director of access and policy, Elsevier E


lsevier has changed quite a lot in OA over the past 10 years. We now have more than 100 fully OA journals and more than 1,600


hybrid titles. We also have more than 100 OA partnerships with development partners With green we have interesting tools for repositories. Through ScienceDirect and Scopus there is an API for people (subscribers in the case of Scopus) to pull metadata into repositories. We are looking at ways to expand the metadata. In the future we want to include embargo information and licence conditions. We have a policy framework that permits self archiving. The embargo depends on the context. We can support when it is low-scale, enthusiastic authors posting to their websites, which they have done for many years.


When it is large-scale, it needs to be more formalised otherwise we lose the ability to track and aggregate. Of course we want to be able to show usage to libraries and authors. Aggregating usage across repositories is a challenge and it is in the best interest of all to solve this problem. Green OA depends on the subscription model


16 Research Information AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014


continuing to operate. Our embargo periods are typically 12 to 24 months. I think embargo-free posting in an OA context is a gold model. We deposit full text in repositories where we have a gold OA agreement. CHORUS [an initiative to help researchers meet funder mandates in the USA, and potentially internationally] has had terrific support from more than 100 publishers and we are ready to go whenever the funders are ready. I am on the CHORUS board and pleased to say there’s a warm discussion between CHORUS and SHARE [an alternative, slightly different approach to addressing the US funder mandates]. With both projects we are all waiting for the first US mandates. It seems to me very clear how they can work together. We see OA as part of a broader cultural change with information, which also includes open data, open software and open government. Cultural change takes time. For our hybrid journals, we realigned our APC policy in April 2013 and changed from a flat APC of $3,000 to a scale between $500 and $5,000. We are trying to do a better job of presenting value for


money. The $500 articles are often in case report titles where there is a lot of description and little engagement with the editor. The $5,000 articles are in our really high-quality titles like Cell and the Lancet, where there is a much higher level of engagement with Elsevier staff and high attention to things like production and marketing. Internal systems are


‘The general principle of OA resonates with scientists but authors can struggle with policy details’


that all publishers are making to support OA and is probably quite invisible except when it goes wrong. From our regular surveys of author attitudes across different geographies and subject areas, it is clear that the general principle of OA resonates with scientists but authors can struggle with policy details. Academics are clear-thinking, free thinking people who have a range of views.


@researchinfo www.researchinformation.info We use CC BY licensing on all


PeerJ articles. This means authors retain their copyright, while at the same time others can freely copy and reuse the articles without needing to ask for further permission. If a publisher asks you to sign over your copyright then it becomes difficult, expensive, or impossible for others to access your research. Just as we


don’t believe in paywalls blocking access to research, nor do we believe in authors not being able to retain full ownership of their work. There are some dangers with the CC BY NC licence as legally it can block some educational institutions, which is usually not what authors intend or consider when choosing between CC BY and CC BY NC. Some even suggest that NC is ignored by some corporations regardless, and more disconcertingly NC also doesn’t prevent the publisher of the NC article from commercialising it either. At PeerJ we want to guard against this. By being fully CC BY, authors and readers don’t need to worry about sharing or reusing articles, so everyone benefits and ultimately science flourishes.


very actively being


developed to capture information about titles, APCs, embargo periods. It’s a big investment


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