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Editors stop prime neuroscience journal to protest towards open-access fees

Editors stop prime neuroscience journal to protest towards open-access fees

2023-04-21 09:59:37

Magnetic resonance imaging

Neuroimaging analysis is on the centre of a row about open-access publishing charges.Credit score: iStock/Getty

Greater than 40 editors have resigned from two main neuroscience journals in protest towards what the editors say are excessively excessive article-processing fees (APCs) set by the writer. They are saying that the charges, which publishers use to cowl publishing providers and in some circumstances earn a living, are unethical. The writer, Dutch firm Elsevier, says that its charges present researchers with publishing providers which can be above common high quality for beneath common worth. The editors plan to begin a brand new journal hosted by the non-profit writer MIT Press.

The choice to resign took place after many discussions among the many editors, says Stephen Smith, a neuroscientist on the College of Oxford, UK, and editor-in-chief of one of many journals, NeuroImage. “Everybody agreed that the APC was unethical and unsustainable,” says Smith, who will lead the editorial staff of the brand new journal, Imaging Neuroscience, when it launches.

The 42 lecturers who made up the editorial groups at NeuroImage and its companion journal NeuroImage: Stories announced their resignations on 17 April. The journals are open entry and require authors to pay a payment for publishing providers. The APC for NeuroImage is US$3,450; NeuroImage: Stories fees $900, which is able to double to $1,800 from 31 Might. Elsevier, based mostly in Amsterdam, says that the APCs cowl the prices related to publishing an article in an open-access journal, together with editorial and peer-review providers, copyediting, typesetting, archiving, indexing, advertising and administrative prices. Andrew Davis, Elsevier’s vice-president of company communications, says that NeuroImage’s payment is lower than that of the closest comparable journal in its discipline, and that the writer’s APCs are “set consistent with our coverage [of] offering above common high quality for beneath common worth”.

Article prices

Publishers have launched APCs — a part of a pay-to-publish mannequin — as an alternative choice to pay-to-read subscriptions as journals more and more develop into freely accessible, and researchers usually pay APCs from their grant funds. Journal APCs differ, usually relying on elements such because the writer’s dimension, the proportion of papers despatched for peer overview and metrics equivalent to influence issue, in addition to whether or not they make use of in-house editors and press officers. The Lancet Neurology, printed by Elsevier, has an APC of $6,300; the payment at Nature Neuroscience, printed by Springer Nature, is $11,690; and Human Mind Mapping, printed by Wiley, fees $3,850. (Nature’s information staff is editorially impartial of Nature Neuroscience and of Springer Nature.)

The NeuroImage editors say that the charges exclude many students who’re based mostly in international locations the place analysis is just not properly funded. They assume that the charges don’t mirror direct article prices, and say it’s incorrect for publishers to make revenue from science that they haven’t funded.

Elsevier says that it’s dedicated to advancing open entry to analysis and has schemes to assist researchers in poorer international locations. Davis says Elsevier helps researchers in 120 low- and middle-income international locations to obtain inexpensive entry to almost 100,400 peer-reviewed assets, by means of a public–non-public partnership known as Research4Life. He provides that Elsevier mechanically applies waivers or reductions on charges to publish articles in absolutely open-access journals when all authors are in a low-income nation.

NeuroImage launched in 1992, and have become open entry in 2020 with an APC of $3,000, which has been raised twice. NeuroImage: Stories launched in 2021 to publish outcomes, together with null findings, and strategies. In June final 12 months, the editors, led by Smith, requested Elsevier to decrease NeuroImage’s APC to lower than $2,000. Smith says Elsevier instructed them that was unlikely, however it might organize additional conferences. In March this 12 months, the editors instructed the writer they might resign if the APC couldn’t be decreased. “We then had additional discussions with Elsevier, however they in the end declined to cut back the APC,” says Smith.

The writer is dissatisfied with the editorial staff’s transfer, says Davis. “We now have been partaking constructively with them during the last couple of years as we transitioned NeuroImage to develop into a totally open-access journal,” Davis says. The journal will proceed as regular, he provides. “The resigning editors will proceed to deal with papers already submitted and the brand new editorial staff will deal with all new papers. We now have not introduced their names but however they are going to be added to the web site quickly.”

Merged journal

The editors determined to arrange an open-access journal with MIT Press, based mostly on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how in Cambridge. Ted Gibson, who sits on MIT Press’s editorial board and is an editor of its cognitive-science journal Open Thoughts, seems to be ahead to internet hosting the brand new title. “These editors have achieved it the appropriate method. I feel it’s a gradual course of however ultimately extra scientists will resign from the profit-oriented journals,” Gibson says.

The journal transfer echoes a 2019 case, during which the editorial board of an Elsevier scientometrics journal — the Journal of Informetricsresigned in protest over the publisher’s open-access policies, together with the journal’s APCs. The researchers launched a free-to-read journal with MIT Press known as Quantitative Science Research (QSS), with the identical editorial board.

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The brand new neuroimaging journal will equally carry over all of the editors from each journals and merge them into one, Smith says. “That is nice information for Imaging Neuroscience — it means we will hit the bottom working with a tremendous staff of over 40 world-leading scientists who already work rather well collectively.”

The APC for the journal hasn’t been set but, says Smith, however they goal to make it at most half of NeuroImage’s $3,450 payment.

Lucina Uddin is a neuroscientist on the College of California, Los Angeles, and one of many resigning editors. She had been a dealing with editor at NeuroImage since 2019. “I bear in mind publishing my first paper in NeuroImage as a graduate scholar, and feeling that I had actually arrived as a scientist,” she says. “It was a troublesome choice to resolve to maneuver away from a journal that many people think about to be the go-to outlet for sharing our analysis.”

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