The Plant Cell
Open Access Experiment
The Open Access movement in scholarly publishing advocates that research content
should be freely available to all immediately upon publication. This approach
has caused publishers to examine the feasibility of a shift from traditional
subscription-based ("user pays") financial models to an "author-pays"
model, in which the cost of publication is typically borne by authors. ASPB
currently derives about 65% of its publications revenues from its institutional
subscriptions, with the remainder coming from membership and nonmember individual
subscriptions, page and color charges paid by the authors, and small advertising
and royalty revenues.
What does our author community think about Open Access? Are Plant Cell
and Plant Physiology® authors willing to pay to have their articles made
free online immediately upon publication? To gauge the plant science community's
interest in this new approach to publishing and to help ASPB determine the viability
of "author-pays" publishing models, the Society is conducting an 18-month
Open Access experiment. Beginning with the December 2005 issues of Plant
Physiology and The Plant Cell, authors of articles accepted by the
journals will be given the option to pay a surcharge to make their online article
freely accessible from the moment of publication to anyone with Internet access.
The surcharge, in addition to the usual author charges, was originally set at $1,000, discounted to $750 for authors working at subscribing institutions. It was increased to $1,500 for Plant Physiology and $2,000 for The Plant Cell in January 2009, and remains discounted to $750 if the author’s institution subscribes to the journal.
The offer to participate in the experiment will be extended to authors upon
acceptance and will have absolutely no impact on the peer review process or
whether a paper is accepted for publication.
Open Access articles will be so indicated on eToCs (our electronic content
alerts [sign up at http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/alerts/etoc
on the print and online table of contents, and on the opening page of the article
itself, both online and in print. Authors who decline the Open Access option
will pay their normal author charges, and their papers will be accessible via
member/nonmember individual or institutional subscription, or pay-per-view,
for the first 12 months, according to established ASPB practice. After 12 months,
access to these articles will be made free per present journal policy.
ASPB will be following the uptake of the Open Access option among authors and
tracking usage of Open Access compared to subscription access articles. At the
end of the 18-month period, ASPB will use this and other information to help
inform future decisions about Open Access publishing.
The average actual cost to ASPB to publish a research article in Plant Physiology®,
online only, is about $2,500; for The Plant Cell that figure is around
$3,500. Thus, the $1,000 surcharge partially reflects the expense incurred in
publishing a top-quality plant science journal. As for the discount to authors
from subscribing institutions, it is intended to reinforce to the Society's
library community ASPB's recognition that free access to the primary research
literature is a worthy goal and one to which the Society is committed. In addition,
this discount is intended to provide a concrete benefit to those institutions
and their potential authors for their continued institutional subscription.
There is no change in ASPB's copyright policy related to the Open Access experiment.
Authors will continue to transfer copyright to the Society, and ASPB will continue
to allow its authors to reuse their material without requesting permission from
The Journals Today
ASPB is committed to the broad dissemination of the content of its journals.
ASPB members already have free online access to both journals as a benefit of
membership in the Society. Additionally, ASPB participates in AGORA (http://www.aginternetwork.org/en),
an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, and
will soon join HINARI (http://www.who.int/hinari/en),
the counterpart World Health Organization initiative, to offer many dozens of
developing nations immediate free access to all articles. The research content
of ASPB journals is currently free online 12 months after publication. For those
unable to access the journals via an institutional or member/nonmember individual
subscription, there is pay-per-view, which entitles the user to 48 hours' access
to the online article for $8. Another option, pay-per-access, gives unlimited
online access to the entire journal site for 14 days for $20. Furthermore, ASPB
has participated in NIH's PubMed Central for the past five years, making our
content freely available there, too, after 12 months. Readers will find a free
archive of both journals--back to 1989 for The Plant Cell and to 1926
for Plant Physiology®--on PubMed Central as well.
The journals welcome feedback on the Open Access experiment at any time. Please
e-mail the director of publications, Nancy
Winchester, with your comments. As the experiment progresses, we will share
what we learn with our editors, authors, readers, and members.
The Open Access option is available to authors accepted for publication beginning
with the December 2005 issues.