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Open Science Journals to make science more open

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Last month, De Gruyter Open revealed the conversion of eight journals from the subscription model to open access. This announcement applies to the STM journals established by Versita, a publishing house based in Poland, which were until recently distributed by Springer. Now, Versita – since 2012, operates as part of the De Gruyter Group as its imprint – De Gruyter Open.

These journals are still relatively new. Even so, not only did they win trust and popularity among the international scientific community, but six of them already have Impact Factors. The Central European Journal of Chemistry and the Central European Journal of Physics enjoy IF 2013 values of 1.329 and 1.077, respectively. Taking into account that Open Access has a positive impact on citations (see new research and the opinion of one of the editors) and general visibility, we may well expect that the future bodes well for these journals.

Global and Open

The recent relaunch is not without a bang. In a bid to serve the best interests of authors, readers and editors, and to reflect the all-encompassing scopes of the converted journals, De Gruyter Open has renamed all former entries. They changed from the ‘Central European Journal of’ to ‘Open’. The change of names results from the growing readership and the consistent surge in submissions from beyond Central Europe. “Our goal is to bring these journals to an international audience.” – said Dr. Aleksandra Nowacka Leverton, Product Manager responsible for Open Access Journals at De Gruyter Open.

Thus, Open Physics, Open Chemistry, Open Mathematics, Open Computer Sciences, Open Medicine, Open GeosciencesOpen Engineering and Open Life Sciences (referred together as Open Science Journals) will join Open Archeology, Open Linguistics and Open Theology, which premiered with De Gruyter Open earlier this year (for more information on new journals launched in humanities have a look here). The result, a strong portfolio of open access journals, covering entire disciplines.

For DG Open this is not a leap into unknown as this is not their first conversion from subscription to open access. Previously, the company switched Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics to OA (for more information have a look here). DG Open’s CEO, Jacek Ciesielski explains the new developments: “The transition is not an experiment. Quite the opposite, it is a well prepared development for the journals that belong to De Gruyter Open”.

More good news is that starting from the January 2015 all the back issues of converted journals will be available on the De Gruyter platform.

800 articles per year

Some of the Open Science Journals have introduced article processing charges (APC) starting with the current volume. Others remain free for both readers and authors, although they will introduce APC in following years (see the chart above). APC vary between 1000 and 1500 euro per article, depending on the title, and they are automatically waived for authors who work for institutions based in countries classified by the World Bank as low income and lower-middle income economies. However, other authors who do not fulfil these criteria can request a waiver or a discount during the submission process.

“We started volume 2015, which is the first volume in the open access model, about month ago. The majority of journals, including those charging APCs, have already published several articles. I believe that we will be ready to publish 20-30 articles in each of our Open Science Journals by December, and that they will publish 800 high quality, open access articles in the 2015 volumes.”

Despite the ambitious plans concerning the number of published articles, the journals keep the peer review criteria unchanged, which means they tend to be selective in terms of potential impact and novelty of submitted manuscripts in contrary to many other established megajournals.

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