New OA Journal, Backed by O’Reilly, May Disrupt Academic Publishing 2012-06-14


“An open access academic publishing company called Peer J Inc. launched today, and its notable co-founders are promising that the company’s business model will revolutionize the field. The company’s co-founders are Jason Hoyt, formerly the chief scientist and vice president for research and development at Mendeley, and Peter Binfield, until recently the publisher of PLoS One. The duo said they are poised to exploit a looming ‘wholesale move’ toward open access in academic publishing, and they ‘expect to be at the forefront of a revolution in how academic content is published and distributed.’ ‘It was incredibly satisfying to run PLoS ONE, and I believe that PLoS ONE has been one of the major forces for change in the industry,’ Binfield said. ‘However, I wanted to break out and see how much further I could push the envelope... while all the time maintaining the highest standards of professional publication.’ PeerJ will do without the widely employed and often expensive article-processing charge (commonly called author fees) of other OA journals, which average about $900 per published paper, according to a recent study. Instead, PeerJ will use a ‘pay once, publish for life’ model... Authors who join are granted lifetime rights to publish for free in the company’s peer-reviewed journal, also called PeerJ. Each author on a paper must be a member. ‘When I decided to leave Mendeley to start something new I said to myself that everyone seems to be waiting around for either the government or publishers to drop costs, so why not just do it and see what happens?’ said Hoyt, who had the idea for the business model... A partnership between O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and O’Reilly Media provided the money to get the project going, and Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media, will sit on PeerJ’s governing board. O’Reilly said that PeerJ has figured out the social dynamics of research publishing, which will result in its rapid spread... O’Reilly said... ‘Open access—and particularly the membership model of PeerJ—provides a more rational market that will reduce costs while improving the dissemination of knowledge.  It’s a game changer...’ The pricing model has three tiers — $99, $169, and $259 — which allow, respectively, a member to publish once per year for life, twice per year, or an unlimited number of times... Binfield said... the model would ‘dramatically lower the financial barriers to open access publication.’ Peter Suber, the director of the Harvard Open Access Project and a senior researcher at SPARC, found promise in the involvement of Binfield and Hoyt, but he also was cautious since details about the project are only just emerging. ‘What we do know is that Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt bring experience from PLoS ONE and Mendeley, two notable and fast-growing OA success stories, one more gold than green, the other more green than gold, and each a category-buster,’ Suber said.The advantages of the business model, however, could vary, Suber said. ‘To pay $99-259 for a lifetime of published papers dramatically lowers the costs for authors or their sponsors. Or at least it lowers the price compared to fee-based OA journals,’ Suber said. ‘On the other hand, most OA journals –a full 70 percent– charge no author-side fees at all. From that point of view, even $99-259 would be a price increase,’ he said, referring to a 2009 study by Stuart Shieber as well as his own research into publication data from scholarly societies. Nevertheless, Suber said that even though ‘few authors will want to publish in the same journal for the rest of their lives,’ there was the potential for economies. ‘For authors who would normally publish in fee-based OA journals, even occasional publishing in PeerJcould save them money,’ Suber said. ‘The same is true for authors who would normally publish in subscription-based or non-OA journals, where about 75 percent of titles levy page charges, color charges, or other author-side fees.’ Binfield said that many of the journals that levy no article-processing charge (APC), are smaller, ad hoc operations that have only published a handful of articles or issues. By contrast, ‘professionally’ run OA journals —such as PLoS, BioMedCentral, SpringerOpen, Hindawi— all charge APC fees much higher than $99. ‘So probably the better way to look at that [70 percent] statistic would be to ask ‘what percentage of published OA articles were published in a journal which was free versus with APC fees,’ Binfield said. ‘I haven’t done this study, but I would imagine it would show that the vast majority of OA publishing is actually happening under an APC model.’ PeerJ will begin accepting submissions dealing with biological and medical sciences in the summer and the plan is to begin publishing in December. The articles will be indexed in all major abstract and indexing databases, including PubMed Central. Additionally, the articles will be archived with CLOCKSS and the Royal Dutch Library. Everything will be published using a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 3.0). Binefield said PeerJ ‘will be built on a culture



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Date tagged:

06/14/2012, 07:39

Date published:

06/14/2012, 11:01