‘Shock and derision’ as Kent Anderson named Science publisher

Open letter from researchers decries AAAS journal’s high fees and points to Anderson’s combative views on open access

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the prestigious Science journals, has been criticised by open access advocates for appointing a perceived sceptic of open access as its publisher, and for charging up to $5,500 (£3,300) to publish in its new open access journal.

Earlier this month, the association named Kent Anderson as its publisher, effective from 3 November. He is a former president of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and founder of its Scholarly Kitchen blog.

Michael Eisen, professor of genetics, genomics and development at the University of California, Berkeley and co-founder of the Plos open access journals, said that many of Mr Anderson’s blog posts show “an utter disdain for the supporters of open access and a tendency to impugn our motives”.

News of the appointment was “met with shock and widespread derision”, he added, since Mr Anderson will “not only set publishing policies at influential journals, he will also be seen…as the publishing representative of the scientific community” by policymakers.

Professor Eisen said it was “ironic” that Mr Anderson’s first task in his new role will be to launch the open access journal Science Advances, which will publish its first articles in February 2015.

The perception that Mr Anderson’s appointment indicates the AAAS’ hostility to open access has been heightened by the announcement of very high article fees for the new journal.

The basic fee will be $3,000, but an additional $1,500 will be charged for manuscripts of more than 10 pages, and an extra $1,000 for authors who want to use the CC BY licence. This allows full reuse of papers subject to attribution and is required by funders such as Research Councils UK. Most born-digital “mega-journals” charge much less. Plos One and Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports charge $1,350, and PeerJ charges just $99 for the right to publish an article a year. However, Elsevier’s Cell Reports charges $5,000.

More than 100 scientists have signed an open letter to the AAAS urging it to cancel the extra charges.

A spokewoman for the AAAS described the $3,000 fee as “competitive” and said that the society “remains fully committed to open access publishing”.

paul.jump@tesglobal.com

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