Monday, October 22, 2018

Academic publishing: Ripping academics and users off, since way back when.

Imagine you received this proposal:
Step 1: Perform research
Step 2: Analyse said research
Step 3: Write up research into an article of a sufficient standard to pass rigorous peer-review
Step 4: Submit to a journal
Step 5: Pay to submit your content to a journal which profits from your content...

I can't think of any other business model in the world in which you pay to have someone else sell your work.
Imagine if the Rolling Stones had to pay to submit their tracks to iTunes and then received none of the proceeds from record sales... Or if an author had to pay to submit their book to Amazon Kindle and then received none of the book royalties...

Now, I'm not suggesting that scientists should get proceeds from academic articles because that might throw up a whole bunch of additional conflicts and cause serious problems for the scientific process (mainly that people might only perform 'sexy' or trending research to get the greatest monetary return) but, it seems completely crazy to me that we pay to have our content drive a profit for large publishing companies.

People see open-access (OA) publishing as a solution to this.'s not. OA is great because it allows people to read scientific material for free but many people don't realise that there are very high article processing charges associated with OA journals. So the burden of payment is on the author and institutions like universities to foot the bill for publishing. Consider that many universities and colleges are at least partially funded by the government, and so, the profits of publishers are also by proxy being supported by the taxpayer.

So, institutions, researchers, scientific authors, and you, the taxpayer are paying for publishing companies to profit from the work that scientists seldom profit from themselves.
Of course, publishing isn't without cost...BUT also consider that because most scientific material is now presented and read online, there are lower costs to publishing than ever before. Every stage in the process is easier, from editing to typesetting and formatting, through to presentation online. Journals also rely on volunteer peer-reviewers (other scientists) and sometimes volunteer editors and thus, a lot of the work that takes place to take a manuscript from submission to publication is completely gratis...

So, either you pay (to read the article in a paid journal) and the author/institute pay a lower (but often still considerable) charge, or you can read the article for free, but the author needs to pay a substantial charge to have their work published and read.

Something has to change. We are forced to play the game and submit to journals that have sufficient impact to allow our work to be read and cited, and thus become part of the 'canon' of knowledge in our area of science. But it's an expensive game to play and it's one that doesn't have anything close to a level playing field.

I want to change publishing. That's why we have started The Journal of Holistic Performance, a peer-reviewed journal that has a 'Diamon Open Access' model of no article processing charge or acceptance charge to authors and is completely free to read.

Our mandate at JHP:

The Journal of Holistic Performance (JHP) is an international, peer-reviewed journal publishing reviews, case studies, and original research focused on evidence-based holistic nutrition, exercise, supplementation, and lifestyle interventions. We believe that for too long, quality academic publishing has been too expensive for authors and institutions, and for readers and has relied on the goodwill of both authors and volunteers, in order for publishing companies to profit off the work of scientists. That is why JHP is a 'Diamond' Open Access journal with no charge to read and download articles, no article processing or publication fees, and only a nominal fee to submit a manuscript (approximately $10USD levied by our journal host). We aim to encourage graduate and post-graduate students, clinicians, and professional researchers to publish with us and experienced researchers to publish articles of interest to the academic, health practice, and wider community. By eliminating financial and administrative barriers to entry for publishing, whilst maintaining exemplary standards of peer-review and scientific validity, we week to become the premiere journal in the field of holistic health and performance.

If you like these articles, check out my Patreon page, where you can donate as little as $1 per month to help support nutrition research and receive exclusive member-only benefits. 

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