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Independent top-tier open-access biomedical and life sciences journal Grant Jacobs Jun 30

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Over at Occam’s Typewriter[1] Frank has written introducing an initiative by The Wellcome Trust, the Max Planck Society and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to launch a new top-tier open access journal for biomedical and life sciences research.

Frank has most of the news, so I won’t repeat it, but to add that there is a lot to like about this initiative. Here’s a quick bullet-point list of points and thought gathered from Frank’s article and the Wellcome News press release and some of the commentary Frank’s article links to:

  • To open in northern hemisphere summer, 2012.
  • Edited by leading actively-working research scientists
  • Only one round of revisions – reduce need for modifications or additional experiments.
  • On-line only – opportunity to explore/exploit new formats and tools to present content.
  • No author charges.
  • No page limits. (But limited supplementary figures.)
  • Frank notes that the reviewers’ comments will be published anonymously and they are considering paying reviewers.
  • Open access: ’the entire content will be freely available for all to read, to reproduce and for unrestricted use.’
  • [own thought] Directly funded by research funders. In a sense research funding already funds journals, just via a chain of hands: research grant, levy to library, then library to publisher; also direct publication costs are taken from research grants. Here three of the bigger funders are directly putting funds into the publication for wider benefit. Intuitively feels good – at first glance, anyway.

Frank’s article has a links and quote to number of responses to this announcement, e.g. how this model is to be made sustainable. In particular, Declan Butler, from Nature, has a lot to say (see also the comments that follow his opinion piece).

On the mix of no author charges and open access: what not to like? I imagine this alone would attract submissions, and with it competition amongst submitters. It will particularly appeal to those outside academic institutions or institutions with limited budgets.

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