In January 2016, the vision science mailing list CVNet hosted a long discussion about journal costings and community priorities for publishing our work. The discussion resulted in a survey, whose responses are here.
There were 380 responses to the questionnaire. Highlights from Alex Holcombe‘s summary email include:
“Which financial/organizational aspect of journals should be the community‘s top priority?”and of the six options provided, the most popular answer was
“open access”, with 132 responses
“Full academic or professional society control” was 2nd with 78 responses
“Low cost” was 3rd, with 61 responses
“What should the academics on the editorial boards of overpriced journals (be they subscription or open access) do?”
“Work with the publisher to reform the journal itself” had 214 votes, followed by
“Wait until a majority or supermajority of editors agree to resign, and then resign en masse, with a plan agreed among the editors to join or start something else” with 90 votes
Vision journals were invited to respond to the survey results, in particular:
Perhaps the most salient question raised both by the survey responses and the CVnet discussion is exactly why each journal is as expensive/cheap as it is, particularly its open access option, and whether each journal will provide transparent accounting of costs. Given that the data indicate that “Full academic or professional society control” is a high priority, editors should also comment on the ability of themselves and the rest of us to affect their journal’s policies, features and cost.
Journals that have responded so far (last update: May 2017)
- Perception / iPerception wrote a comprehensive response (copied from CVNet here).
- Frontiers responded here.
- ARVO (publisher of Journal of Vision and IOVS) responded (copied from CVNet here). They also voted to remove the USD 500 fee for Gold (CC-BY) open access on June 2, 2016 (yay!).
- Psychonomic Society (publisher of APP and Psych Bull & Rev) responded (copied from CVNet here).
- EDIT 15.05.2017: Thanks to Andrew Parker for pointing out that I missed the response by Vision (MDPI), which was originally posted to CVNet on 14 Feb 2017.
- EDIT 16.05.2017: Thanks to Marc Ernst, Editor-in-Chief of Multisensory Research, for responding.
Journals that were invited to respond but have not
- Vision Research (Elsevier)
- Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (APA)
Please email me if I am missing a response.
Withholding review until response
Because some journals have been so lax to respond to the community, I took the following action today:
Dear Prof XY,
As you’re aware, in January 2016 CVNet hosted a long discussion about open-access charges and journal costings more generally. This discussion resulted in a survey of the community (results here: https://docs.google.com/…/1tfpSVeLflOG4moGvhHlT2SivnW…/edit…). All journals publishing vision-related content were invited to respond to the survey, particularly addressing “exactly why each journal is as expensive/cheap as it is, particularly its open access option, and whether each journal will provide transparent accounting of costs. Given that the data indicate that “Full academic or professional society control” is a high priority, editors should also comment on the ability of themselves and the rest of us to affect their journal’s policies, features and cost.”.
To my knowledge, Vision Research has as yet failed to respond to this survey, despite having agreed to such a response at its editorial board meeting at VSS in May. This is in contrast to some other journals and publishers, such as Perception / iPerception and ARVO. If this understanding is mistaken, please let me know and I will correct my stance.
Failing that, I therefore choose to withhold my services as a reviewer until such time as Vision Research / Elsevier engage with the community they supposedly serve.
If you’re a member of this community, perhaps you’ll consider the same response.