Fee? No, thank you.
PeerJ is a new model for Open-Access journals in which you pay a flat fee to become a member and then you can submit as many papers as you like with no fee for publication for the individual articles. Seems like a positive development. It looks like they'll make at least some of their money by requiring all authors on a manuscript to be members (lots of those flat fees for large, collaborative projects with many authors). I wonder if that will dissuade large labs from publishing there, at least initially. I hope it succeeds—I like the idea of journals that publish solid empirical work even if it's not theoretically novel.
-- There's always a fee in publishing. Open access journals normally charge a more substantial fee as soon as a paper has successfully navigated peer review. Traditional journals pass those costs along to libraries and also restrict access so that only paying subscribers can view the articles. If you get access to journals from your university library, you're paying much higher costs (albeit hidden and indirect ones). The only way to have open access is to recover the costs of publishing in some fashion. This model is interesting because it's a one-time fee rather than a per-article file (and it's cheaper than other open-access journals).
I know the current system very well, it's stupid. Not science-oriented. Open access without any fees is the only way to go.
Online access can be paid for with ads. Editoral work can be done by volunteers or alternatingly by universities and research companies. If you prefer paper in your hands you can print them out yourself. Magazines right now only exist to make money of other people's discoveries.
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