New study: An overview of Open Access publishing in palaeontology

Today, Dean Lomax and I published a new study that attempts to provide an overview of the state of Open Access journals and publishing in the field of palaeontology. I don’t want to repeat what we found too much, so check this Twitter thread for a summary of the main discoveries. Please do get in touch if you find this useful, or think there is something missing or can be improved or built upon.


Open Access (OA) describes the free, unrestricted access to and re-use of published research articles. Recently, the announcement of ‘Plan S’ has catalysed a new wave of interest, debate, and practice surrounding OA. Here, we provide a simple overview of the ‘OA status’ of palaeontology journals within this rapidly shifting landscape. In particular, we focus on aspects such as whether or not there are author-facing charges for Open Access, what embargo periods or restrictions on ‘self-archiving’ policies are in place, and whether or not the sharing of preprints is permitted. The majority of journals have self-archiving policies that allow authors to share their peer reviewed work via ‘green OA’ without charge. There is a clear relationship between ‘journal impact’ and higher charges levied for OA. The most expensive journals are typically published by the large, commercial, publishing houses, rather than the palaeontology community themselves. However, there are a number of article processing charge (APC)-free (diamond) OA journals that can also be considered to be of moderate impact. Until the palaeontology community makes the decision to move away from journal-based evaluation criteria (e.g., the impact factor), it is likely that such high costs will continue to impose financial inequities upon the research community. However, until such culture change occurs, palaeontologists could more widely embrace legal self-archiving as an equitable and sustainable way to progress communication of their research.

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