Money doesn’t grow on trees

This post reflects the personal opinions of the author and does not seek to represent the position of the staff, Editorial Board or publisher of Annals of Botany.

Annals of Botany is proud to offer an open access journal, AoB Plants. There are lots of reasons why authors might chose to publish in AoB Plants, but impact factor isn’t one of them (hardly surprising since this is a new journal). In contrast, the impact factor of Annals of Botany has risen consistently year by year. And times are hard. As the UK Research Excellence Framework looms ever larger in the minds of university managers, more and more scientists are under pressure to maximize impact at the cost of open access.

The snag is, someone has to pay the costs of publication (unlike the banks or Ireland, scientific publishers are not “too big to fail”). Gold open access costs authors who publish papers in high ranking journals a lot – and that’s a problem in its own right.

So what is the solution to the problem of who pays for publication? Of course there are many possible solutions, but a recent report commissioned by the Knowledge Exchange argues that buisness models partly based on submission fees can work to help ease the transitional cultural change from subscriptions to pay-to-publish. If you’re invovled in any any aspect of scientific publishing from punter to publisher, this report is well worth a read.

Submission Fees – A tool in the transition to open access? Summary Of Report To Knowledge Exchange, March 2010 (pdf)