Open access solutions for biodiversity journals: Do not replace one problem with another – Peterson – 2019 – Diversity and Distributions – Wiley Online Library

“This change would appear to be positive, as it would remove the for‐pay subscription barrier to reader access to the journal, and thus would appear to constitute an intriguing step in a series of advances in opening access to the scientific literature, in line with recent proposals as those of cOAlition S (https://www.scienceeurope.org/coalition-s/). However, the good news on the webpage is followed by a more ominous, “… all submissions received after 8th October 2018 will be subject to an Article Processing Charge (APC).” We have come to understand that these APCs will be US$2,200 per paper published, which is very expensive compared with the bulk of open access journals in the fields of ecology and conservation science (Van Noorden, 2013; Solomon & Björk, 2012a, 2012b).

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. …

We therefore tentatively applaud Wiley Publishers’ reconsideration of its initial author‐pays plans for the journal Diversity and Distributions, and their offer of strong, equitable waivers and discounts. If Wiley Publishers indeed holds to its promise not to let APCs be a barrier to scholarly communication, we would see the new situation more positively; even better would be a “platinum” open access business model, in which external subsidy is used to avoid crippling APCs. Some platinum open access journals have close relationships with scientific societies or charitable foundations, are subsidized by a particular institution or entity, or charge much more modest APCs in exchange for membership dues; examples of journals using these different funding solutions include Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, Current Science, Current Zoology, Emerging Infectious Diseases, European Journal of Ecology, Neotropical Biodiversity, and Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. If, however, Wiley Publishers does not hold to its “no APC barriers” policy (e.g., if they start withholding waivers to authors claiming lack of funds), we anticipate that Diversity and Distributions will see a rather rapid decline in submission rates of quality papers, out of both economic necessity and “protest” by the community. As members of the research community, we would likely send our manuscripts for publication elsewhere and reconsider our customary volunteer work as referees and editors for such a high‐cost and low‐participation journal. More generally, we urge that Wiley Publishers and other commercial publishers realize that the future of scholarly publishing is not just one of open access, but rather open participation, such that the fullest scholarly community can participate in all dimensions of scholarly communications.”

Source: Open access solutions for biodiversity journals: Do not replace one problem with another – Peterson – 2019 – Diversity and Distributions – Wiley Online Library