Researchers have to consider many factors before deciding whether to publish in a traditional subscription journal or an open access (OA) journal. The most important factors are the visibility of a journal, the cost of publication, the impact factor of the journal, and the speed of publication. Internet of things has created a radical shift in the academic publishing model. Today, internet is being primarily used to connect, share, and communicate things all across the world.
Previously, collaborations with prestigious journals were required to know the latest emerging trends in a field of study. Researchers flocked libraries to get hold of the latest copy of their academic journal. Today, all information is available online and researchers can easily read scholarly articles online. Moreover, they can save important files on their personal computers. Everything is available at the click of a mouse.
The online publishing platform has two options: the traditional subscription model and the recently popular open access model. The traditional subscription model charges hefty fees from readers to access their journal online. On the other hand, the open access model enables all readers to access scholarly articles free of cost. The publication cost is borne by the authors who submit their manuscript for publication. Moreover, researchers today share their work through Twitter, social media sites, and blogs.
The OA publishing model has removed all barriers of scholarly communication. Today, so much research work is available online to the general public without causing deep holes in their pockets. But researchers still have to publish in prestigious peer-reviewed journals that follow subscription model. This is because most subscription journals have high impact factor and prestige in the academic community. In this article, we guide researchers on how to make the right choice between OA model and subscription model of publishing.
The visibility of the journal: Most researchers want to publish their articles in journals that have high visibility and readership. As the online format of OA journals is freely accessible to the public, they enjoy higher visibility and readership. Compared to subscription journals, OA journals have 89% higher rate of full-text downloads, and 42% higher rate of PDF downloads. Moreover, the unique visitors of OA journals were 23% higher than those of subscription journals. These are the findings of a latest survey published by OpenScience platform of De Grutyer Publications.
The cost of publication: The article processing charges (APC) differ depending on whether the journal is subscription based or open access. At the time of submission, authors are charged a small fee to offset the costs related to editorial and peer-review services. However, authors have to pay a hefty fee once their paper has been accepted for publication.
Most subscription journals charge authors 100-250 $ for publishing a single page, and 150-1000 $ for publishing a single figure in colored format. On the other hand, OA journals have a flat APC value, which can range from as little as 8$ to a sky-rocketing figure of 5000$. Some journals do offer partial waivers to authors with limited financial resources.
Today, libraries of prestigious institutions like Harvard are encouraging authors to follow OA model of publication. This is because most subscription journals charge a hefty fee for full online access of their articles. The annual subscription fee of some traditional journals is about 40,000 $. Today prestige is being replaced by the more reasonable OA model.
Journal Impact factor: Most OA journals are relatively new and they do not have impact factor, which is a measure of the journal’s prestige in the academic community. For example, Springer published 500 OA journals in 2013, but only 179 of these journals had an impact factor. Most authors of science and humanities only want to publish in journals with high impact factor, that is, journals that follow the traditional subscription model.
Nevertheless, some disciplines do have OA journals with high impact factor, and can be considered to be prestigious. For example, PLOS Biology and PLOS ONE follow complete OA model of publication, and yet manage to be ranked 1st and 10th most prestigious journals, based on their impact factor.
Many Chinese and European universities provide an extended tenure of professorship to researchers who have published in high-impact, peer-reviewed, prestigious journals. Most well-established journals still follow the traditional subscription model. Moreover, it is easier to get research grants if you have an impressive list of publications in high-impact subscription journals.
The speed of publication: In the survey conducted by the OpenScience platform, about 65-70% of science authors always considered the time taken to publish a paper after submission, that is, the speed of publication of a journal. Most peer-reviewed medical journals have a publication time of 21 months, causing a time lag between clinical trials and data publication. For patients awaiting new therapies, this time lag for data dissemination is discouraging.
Clinicians should consider publishing in OA journals, because they are speed up the review process and shorten publication time. The most prestigious OA journals such as PeerJ, PLOS ONE, etc. are devoted to accelerate the peer-review process. In 2013, a survey examined 135 journals indexed by SCOPUS. They found that OA journals had a significantly shorter publication time compared to traditional subscription journals. Thus, OA journal is recommended to researchers who wish to disseminate their findings rapidly.
In conclusion, the visibility of a journal, cost of publication, journal impact factor, and speed of publication are the most important factors to consider while making a choice between OA and subscription journals. The well-established researchers can opt for OA journals, while budding researchers may opt for subscription journals as they still have to make a name for themselves in the academic community.
Nevertheless, the OA model is here to stay and it been popularized by the growing readership on the internet. Information platform has now shifted to online model modes from the traditional print model, which is dying with due course. Most prestigious universities are canceling their contracts with costly subscription journals. Harrisco offer journal selection service to all researchers who find it difficult to make this important decision. Harrisco is the no.1 academic editing company in Seou, South Korea.