Archive for October 23, 2020

Open Access, but at what cost?

Posted in Open Access with tags , on October 23, 2020 by telescoper

I couldn’t resist passing on the news that the Max Planck Digital Library has signed an agreement with the Nature Publishing Group to enable authors in about 120 German institutes to publish Open Access articles in Nature journals.

That’s the set up, now here’s the punchline.

Each paper published in this way will cost the authors – or more accurately the authors’ institutes and/or research grants – the sum of €9,500.

No that’s not a misprint. It’s about $11,200, or about £8600. For each paper. Typical article processing charges in the range of $2000 or so are already out of all proportion to the cost of publishing scientific papers; at this level they are simply ridiculous. Recent experiences suggest these charges are out of all proportion to the quality of the editorial process too!

The person who negotiated the arrangement, Ralf Schimmer, Head of Information at the MPDL seems to think it is a good deal. It’s certainly a good deal for Nature Publishing Group, but to anyone else it’s yet another egregious example of profiteering by the academic journal industry. The Academic Journal Racket strikes again!

Why is that so many academics and learned societies fail to see the extent to which they are being ripped off by these publishers? The only explanation I can think of is that it is the same reason why some people pay to produce vanity publications…