Entire editorial staff at Elsevier quits and starts new Open Access journal

Entire editorial staff at Elsevier quits and starts new Open Access journal

Unanimous decision of the more than 40 editors

26-04-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. The entire editorial staff of NeuroImage, the most important journal for imaging neuroscience, has quit. The more than forty members didn’t agree with the amount that the Elsevier publishers asked their authors to pay in order to have their Open Access articles published. Together, they have founded a new Open Access journal, called Imaging Neuroscience.

It is all about the so-called APC – the Article Processing Charge, also referred to as publication fee. This was 3,450 dollar per article, says Sonja Kotz, professor of Neuropsychology and Translational Neurosciences at Maastricht University and senior editor of the former NeuroImage and now Imaging Neuroscience. “Since the emergence of Open Access, we have urged Elsevier to measure their costs for Open Access. At the time, they asked 3,000 dollar per article, and this amount has gradually increased.”

Tax payers' money

According to an independent study, it costs a publisher between 200 and 1,000 dollar to publish an article. “So, why does the price have to be so high,” Kotz wonders. “In the Netherlands, we are fortunate that universities have reached a deal with Elsevier (scientists receive a reduction of the publication fee or don’t have to pay it at all for Open Access articles, ed.), but a lot of money is nevertheless being paid. That is public money – for how long more will tax payers accept it being used to publish articles that subsequently are not available for everyone to read?”

Ultimately, it will be a loss for science, says Kotz; after all, a university can only spend its money once. “In addition, we feel that a journal loses importance when not all scientists have access to it.”

Unanimous decision

When Elsevier still didn’t want to give in at the beginning of the year, editors warned that they would all leave if the APC was not adapted. That is what has now happened. “It was a unanimous decision,” says Kotz. The editors have joined forces with sister journal NeuroImage:Reports and set up the new journal. “At the moment, we are negotiating with MIT Press, where the publication fee will be only half of what it is at Elsevier’s and they are much more positive about lower cost Open Access.”

Kotz is hopeful that the new journal can be set up quickly. “That is the advantage of the all the editors having left. We have received a lot of very positive reactions from our community. Authors have already said that they will now send us their work. We anticipate that people can submit their articles from mid-July and we are hoping to publish the first articles after the summer.”

Author: Cleo Freriks

Illustration: Shutterstock

Tags: open access,elsevier,journal,neuroimaging,neuroscience


Harald Schmidt

The only reason why we have cultivated this obsession with impact factors is that it is one of the key career criteria and also determines your funding success. As soon as the true societal impact would decide on careers and funding, e.g. in medicine "Have you helped patients with a new diagnostic, therapy or preventive measure", then scientists could drop this obsession. So the answer is not only to go to open access but to measure entirely different achievements.

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