Open access solutions for biodiversity journals: Do not replace one problem with another - Peterson - 2019 - Diversity and Distributions - Wiley Online Library
mdelhaye's bookmarks 2019-01-20
As authors (generators), reviewers and editors (evaluators), and readers (consumers) of papers published in this field, we write this commentary to express our strongest disagreement with the planned shift to APC‐based open access for Diversity and Distributions. Whatever the business model, Diversity and Distributions has become a lead journal in the field thanks to the free‐of‐charge support of the scientific community as editors and reviewers and has long been a zero‐cost publishing outlet. Of course, it has not been an easily accessible journal for the readers, as it has been behind a paywall (i.e., pay‐for‐view), but the work has indeed been published, and readers have accessed papers via author request, institutional subscriptions, Sci‐Hub (Himmelstein et al., 2018), institutional repositories, preprint archives that conform to copyright restrictions, or other platforms. Wiley's “open access” solution changes the equation radically, making the journal accessible to readers, but effectively off‐limits to many potential authors.
The authors of this commentary are a large group of scientists based at institutions around the world, including 40 of the associate editors of Diversity and Distributions at the time of writing. All of us view Diversity and Distributions as an important element in our community's scholarly communications universe. The shift to an “author pays” publishing model damages the essential role of the journal deeply, as it will make publishing there expensive and potentially off‐limits for us and many of our colleagues. Collectively, we have published numerous papers in Diversity and Distributions and have donated many hundreds of hours reviewing and editing papers for the journal as well, to the massive financial benefit of Wiley Publishers. We note that Wiley Publishers saw a net profit of $252,000,000 in 2017 (Matthews, 2018), which is enough net profit to cover the APCs for 114,545 articles costing $2,200! Hence, presumably, substantial room exists to reduce profit margins and increase participation for a journal in a field like that of Diversity and Distributions.