For open access journals, price doesn't buy influence

A journal's fee doesn't correlate strongly with its influence. To prevent predatory publishing, a new cost effectiveness tool can help authors decide where to publish their work.

If you’re looking to publish, a new tool can tell you which journal will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Turns out, those that charge the most aren’t necessarily the most influential. Nature News reports.

Called Cost Effectiveness for Open Access Journals, the free, online interactive tool could be a way to drive competition into the market -- helping researchers and authors decide between the different venues they could publish in, says the tool’s developer Jevin West at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The goal, according to West, is to help to create a transparent market in open-access publishing. “We hope to clean up a little of the predatory publishing, where publishers might be charging more than their value merits.”

The metric incorporates pricing and prestige information for 657 open-access journals indexed by Thomson Reuters (including 356 that don’t charge any fees). More prestigious journals do tend to charge higher publication fees.

  • For comparison, they’ve plotted (pictured above) a journal’s prestige -- or Article Influence (AI) score -- against the fee it charges per article. Influence, in this case, is based on citations and the source of those citations.
  • You can narrow the fields down to, say, just ecology and evolution or just neuroscience. You can also just see just fee-based or no-fee journals.
  • It can also help you get the most out of your page charges with a table of cost-effectiveness values. These are calculated by dividing the journal's AI score by the price to publish.

Of the 301 fee-based open-access journals considered, the most cost-effective was the Publication of the Astronomical Society of Japan. You can see a chart of the other best-value journals here and the least-value journals here.

Cost Effectiveness for Open Access Journals was launched earlier this month.

[Via Nature News]

Image: Eigenfactor Project

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