Open Access Fees: A Barrier to Scholarly Activity Among Neurology Trainees - The Permanente Journal - Kaiser Permanente
peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-04-06
"Medical journals charge the highest APCs among aca demic disciplines. Approximately 50% of medical journals registered on the Directory of Open Access Journals Seal, a mark of certiﬁcation for open access journals with high pub- lication standards, charge at least $1,500 United States dol- lars (USD) per manuscript based on the most recent data; these ﬁgures have likely increased.4 Medical journals that operate exclusively under the open access model, charged an average of $2,000 USD and neuroscience journals charged over $2,100 USD in 2013.5 Curiously, average open access APCs are higher ($3,000 USD) in hybrid journals, should an author choose this option.5
Options for avoiding APCs include submitting to journals that use a hybrid model, offering the author the option of making their work available only to subscribers and forgoing open access. One can also submit to journals that provide open access but do not require APCs (usually through the Green Open Access). The trade-off for foregoing open access, however, is a lower citation index as articles published open access are more likely to be cited than those available to subscribers only.6,7 Improved citation index may explain the increasing popularity of open access publications, which now account for 40% of major cardiovascular journals and 60% of oncology articles.6,7 Requesting fee waivers or dis- counts, a potential option for authors from low- or middle- income countries, is usually not an option when there is a co-author from the United States.8 Journals that offer open access and do not require APCs tend to be higher impact journals than the journals in which case reports or reviews written by trainees are unlikely to be accepted. Appropriate target journals for this type of entry level scholarly activity are increasingly operating solely on an open access model.1 A full list of journals from Elsevier or Springer publishing companies with their APCs can be found in references 9 and 10.
The effect of high APCs on trainees is beginning to show. Over 86% of clinical and research fellows from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center listed APC as a barrier for choosing open access journals in a 2020 study, with some quoted in the semi-structured interviews that they could not afford the APC due to lack of funding.11 In a study of 200 scholars at University of California, San Francisco, 36% of them agree that open access adds administrative burden to the already busy researchers, with some stating publishing can be expensive for those with limited funds.12 We are con- cerned that this leaves trainees vulnerable to predatory jour- nals paradoxically with lower APCs. A review of publication fees among 85 predatory neuroscience journals ranged from $521 USD to $637 USD.