YAY! Open Access ~~NOT~~

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

So, I’ve been an editor for a pay to publish journal. It actually wasn’t clear to me that they WERE that kind of journal when I agreed to be an editor. I was just invited to renew my editorship.
This is my answer.
What’d’ya think?
Too harsh?

“Thank you for the offer, but no thanks.
I think open access is great, but pay to publish models are highly discriminatory and have the effect of silencing voices based solely on ability to pay.

As a member of the ever increasing body of precarious academic faculty,
I am one of those people who will NEVER be able to afford to publish in your journal,
no matter HOW good my scholarship.
This kind of discrimination runs completely counter to what scholarship and academia is supposed to be about.

On top of that, while you charge authors a handsome fee to publish, you expect your editors to volunteer their time.

Even though my own personal publications include over 150 articles, including 2 books, I am being asked to work for you for free, and still PAY to publish.

Thanks, but no thanks.”

This is what the journal charges:

“The article processing charge (APC) for all paper types except Comments, invited Replies, and Editorials is $1,350 CAD plus applicable taxes for researchers in Canada and $1,350 USD for researchers outside Canada (no taxes apply). The article processing charge for Comments and Editorials is $500 CAD plus applicable taxes for researchers in Canada and $500 USD for researchers outside Canada (no taxes apply). There is no charge for invited Replies.”

Used to be, people paid a subscription to read, but getting published was “free” (you had to pass the peer-review, but it didn’t matter how much money you had).

People whined about this model – even though almost ALL university libraries give you access to a vast selection of journals – for FREE if you are faculty, student, or staff.
As a sessional instructor, I *DO* have access to the university library, so that was never a barrier for me in my research, OR my publishing.
So NOW, people get to read for free, but they ONLY get to read the words of people who can afford to pay.

NOW I have HUGE barriers to publish, and the papers I have “open” access to all come from people with grants. That also means no new voices. Citations for people with money go UP, while citations for people withOUT money go down. Merit is less and less part of the equation.

I really think this has FAR less to do with “open access” and far MORE to do with the fact that they make MORE money this way. Open Access is just the candy they use to convince us this is better.

Even when I am no longer a sessional, I can still pay to access the library resources at my Alma mater. The cost is about 10% of what it costs to publish just ONE paper.

I think people are deluding themselves if they think that “open access” is, in ANY way, better.

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