Archive for January, 2012

Case studies: the OA policies of two publishers

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) publishes three journals. They are (with their abbreviations and 2010 Impact Factors): the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC, 5.3), Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (MCP, 8.4) and the Journal of Lipid Research (JLR, 6.1).

In the Open Access Policy of the ASBMB, it’s stated that:

We were among the first to introduce a form of open access in 1996 when we started to release all back issues of JBC Online free to everyone at the end of each calendar year. On January 1, 1997, for example, all previous content became available without a subscription. We continue this practice.


Our most innovative advance, however, came in 2001 when we introduced JBC Papers in Press which allows us to publish and provide free access to all papers on the day they are accepted for publication. This innovation has reduced the time from acceptance to publication from 8 weeks to 1 day to the delight of both authors and readers. The JBC Papers in Press system has allowed us to meet the spirit of Open Access publishing yet maintain our ability to meet costs.


Our success with open access to JBC has led to the same policy for other ASBMB journals: Molecular and Cellular Proteomics and Journal of Lipid Research.

The ASBMB journals also offer an Author Choice (hybrid OA) option (undated Editorial). The ASBMB policy for NIH-funded research involves a 12-month embargo after deposition of the final accepted version of  manuscripts in PubMed Central (undated Editorial). Neither transfer to PubMed Central nor choosing immediate release through the Author’s Choice option affects free access to Papers in Press (item dated Oct. 9, 2009).

Comment: I like the policy of permitting public access to Papers in Press.

Cell Press publishes 15 journals. One of these is Cell Reports, an open access journal. The other 14 journals have Impact Factors that range from 32.4 (Cell) to 4.2 (Biophys J). Cell Press also publishes another 14 journals in the “Trends in…” series (see: Cell Press Journals). These latter journals have 2010 Impact Factors that range from 14.4 (Trends Ecol Evol) to  4.9 (Trends Parasitol).

The current issue of most (but not all) of the Cell Press journals includes at least one article that is marked “Free Featured Article”.

Comment: It’s not clear to me what criteria are used to select Free Featured Articles. However, even a few publicly accessible articles in high-quality journals are better than none.


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