Open Linguistics, Open Theology and Open Archaeology are 3 journals launched this year by De Gruyter Open, covering a broad scope of research in humanities. In past weeks they were joined by 8 STM journals converted from the subscription model, also designed to cover their entire disciplines. Thus, De Gruyter Open created a strong portfolio of 11 open access megajournals – as named by the publisher in the press release. In this entry I would like to focus on the 3 new journals in humanities, in next one I will try to tell you more about the 8 STM journals converted by De Gruyter to Open Access.
Open Theology, Open Archaeology and Open Linguistics publish articles from all sub-fields of their disciplines and aim to deal with all their topics.
As Katarzyna Grzegorek, managing editor of Open Linguistics claimed: “Our editorial board gathers editors from different universities and different countries, ensuring an impartial editorial process. It consists of researchers working in different fields, which allows us to react quickly to new trends. We are able to evaluate each paper fairly, while also dealing with newly emerged problems or ideas. Authors of innovative or interdisciplinary papers should not be afraid that their work will be rejected because it does not match our area of interest.”
However, contrary to classic megajournals such as PLOS ONE, journals by De Gruyter Open are going to keep the standard criteria for article evaluation, which tends to be quite selective, in terms of scientific importance and quality.
All three managing editors of the Open Humanities Journals jointly claimed that selective and rigorous peer review is their recipe for the journals’ success. They want to create journals that publish high impact articles from a broad thematic scope. Keeping the journals selective is their way to quickly achieve significant Impact Factor and to gain recognition among researchers.
Katarzyna Tempczyk, managing editor of Open Theology told me: “We only accept really good articles. However, our advantage in comparison to journals published in the traditional model is that we can publish all the good articles we receive. Since as an on-line journal we are not limited by the volume of print. We aim to publish a lot, while maintaining a very high quality.”
All the mentioned journals are currently collecting papers for topical issues (TI) and are looking for guest editors who want to lead their own TI. Open Archaeology is calling for papers for a TI on challenging digital archaeology, with a deadline of 31 October. There is more time to submit a paper to one of the two TI by Open Linguistics, one on sign linguistics and gesture studies and the other on towards branch-crossing isoglosses in Indo-European. Both calls are open until the end of December. Open Theology is waiting for contributions to the topical issue on manichaeism until June 15, 2015. Of course you are also invited to submit papers to regular issues at any moment.
Open Humanities Journals are free for both readers and authors at this time. They are planned to remain open access forever. To cover costs of maintaining the journals, authors or their institutions will be asked to pay article processing charges (APC). APC will be introduced once the journals have developed into internationally recognizable brands and will be significantly lower than those charged by journals in the fields of science, medicine and technology, to reflect the current level of funding available in humanities.
Do the humanities need open access journals, covering entire disciplines? Most likely yes, because at this moment the majority of articles in humanities are published in local, specialized journals which are available to a very limited audience.
Katarzyna Gregorek adds: “Open Linguistics gives an opportunity to publish in a journal that is read by an international audience, in English, which is free to read and share, thus offering minimal access barriers. I hope it will help to expand the international discussion in humanities, to involve researchers from Eastern Europe who at this time write mostly for their local colleagues.”
Open Archaeology, Open Theology and Open Linguistics operate in disciplines where the De Gruyter brand is well recognized. Thanks to this advantage and emphasis on quality control, they are likely to become central international forums for humanities in quite a short time.