Saturday, January 26, 2013

Repugnant organization of academic journals?

A new mathematics journal is raising questions about whether it might be promoting repugnant transactions. Timothy Gowers, one of the editors of Forum of Mathematics, CUP’s new open-access journal has a blog post called Why I've joined the bad guys, in which he discusses the fact that the journal will fund itself by charging the authors of articles.

He begins as follows:

"If you are not already familiar with this debate, the aspect of Forum of Mathematics that many people dislike is that it will be funded by means of article processing charges (which I shall abbreviate to APCs) rather than subscriptions. For the next three years, these charges will be waived, but after that there will be a charge of £500 per article. Let me now consider a number of objections that people have to APCs.

"It is just plain wrong to ask authors to pay to get their articles published.
There are many variants of this argument. For instance, an analogy is often drawn with vanity publishing: do we want vanity publishing for mathematical articles?

"Let me begin with the “it is just plain wrong” part. A number of people have said that they find APCs morally repugnant. However, that on its own is not an argument. "

HT: Will Dearden

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