Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong
This is a fairly accurate assessment of Open Access publishing.
Where research is made freely available through open access publishing, there may still be legitimate expenses that a publisher needs to recoup. One strategy for this is to take payment from the author when an article is accepted for publication. It is now common for research councils to allow grant money to be used to pay these so-called author fees.
This is a model that invites corruption. Set up a journal, accept some articles, charge a high fee, and publish the article on your website. This corruption is fed, of course, by the fact that researchers feel incredible pressure to publish more and more. It’s also fed by a system that uses quantity as a proxy for quality. But it is a mistake to equate open access and author payment. There are traditional journals that require some payment, too, especially in connection with high typesetting costs.
The real problem for science today is quality control. Peer review has been at the heart of this, but there are too many failures – both in open access and traditional journals – simply to plod ahead with the same system. We need new approaches and numerous individuals and organisations are working on these, such as the open evaluation project.