Moving Towards Open Access: High-quality Research and Publication is Essential, but Visibility of the Work is Critical
Anders Vahlquist, Torbjörn Egelrud, Agneta Andersson
The purpose of a scientific journal is to help disseminate news and views in research. The better the article and the more accessible the journal, the more effectively will the authors’ message reach the scientific community. From the perspective of rapid dissemination of scientific research, immediate open access of an article on the internet is no doubt preferable. However, for the sake of quality and readability, the paper first has to pass a peer review process and undergo at least some type of professional editing, which takes time and money. Although the costs can be reduced by not producing a printed version of the journal and by choosing a non-profit publisher, sufficient income must come from subscriptions, submission fees, page charges or advertisements. Taking on a policy of immediate open access means that all subscription fees will eventually disappear and the interest of advertisers will reduce. Thus, the cost of quality control and editing must be met entirely by the authors who submit the papers (unless institutional funding and/or donations are available). In the case of Acta Dermato-Venereologica, changing the subscription-based economy to author paid publication and open access, would require at least a tripling of the present page charges. This is presently regarded as untenable by the Editorial Board.
As of January 2010 the board has therefore decided – in order to move stepwise toward open access of Acta Dermato-Venereologica – to shorten the embargo time to 6 months from publication until the article is freely accessible to everyone, and to retain a printed version in parallel with the e-version for some years to come. Presumably the process of most scientific journals moving to immediate open access, will accelerate in the future, but nobody knows exactly how this will occur. Meanwhile, in Acta Dermato-Venereologica, all review papers and selected papers that we judge to be of special importance are already made freely accessible at the time of publication. We also encourage all authors to place accepted papers in their university repository in order to promote rapid dissemination of their results.
As far as the peer review process of Acta Dermato-Venereologica is concerned, we are very pleased to announce that the Editorial Board has recently recruited two new prominent Section Editors. Professor Carl-Fredrik Wahlgren, Department of Dermatology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, is a specialist in Pediatric Dermatology and Atopy. He will be one of the Clinical Case Editors. Professor Roderick Hay, St John’s Institute of Dermatology, London, is one of the world’s leading specialists in cutaneous infections and will cover all papers submitted in this area. These two co-workers will no doubt help to increase the standard of Acta Dermato-Venereologica further.