This week, 19th to the 24th October 2020 is the thirteenth international Open Access Week. This year’s theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”.
Open Access (OA) publishing is here to stay and with that comes an opportunity to recreate our entire research framework to be fundamentally more inclusive. At JEB, we fully support access to knowledge across all levels of society and year-on-year, our OA content has increased (18.8% of all JEB content in 2019 was fully OA). We currently publish under a hybrid open-access model which means that our content is available through a mixture of both OA and subscription-based access. Most importantly, we are a not-for-profit journal. So, what do we do with the funds raised through publishing the journal?
We channel any profit raised straight back into the evolutionary biology community.
We channel any profit raised, whether through subscriptions or article processing charges, straight back into the evolutionary biology community. We do this through subsidising the cost of our biennial congress, regularly attended by c.1500 evolutionary biologists, and through society initiatives. Some are research-focused, such as project grants or travel awards for early-career scientists. However, initiatives also include Equal Opportunities, a funding stream designed to tackle underrepresentation of groups in evolutionary biology, and Global Training to promote the study of evolution as a discipline outwith the traditional strongholds of Europe and the US. We hope that, collectively, these initiatives will help foster the international growth of evolutionary biology as an inclusive discipline.
As a society journal, our role is primarily to showcase the research of our community. We have a part to play in creating an inclusive environment by implementing fair and open publishing practices. At JEB we do this by removing financial barriers to publication wherever possible and reducing the potential for bias.
At JEB we remove financial barriers to publication wherever possible and reduce the potential for bias.
There are no page charges for publishing in JEB so it is possible to publish your article with us at zero cost. We are aware that the publication landscape is changing and that funders increasingly require ‘Gold OA’. Therefore, all ESEB members are eligible for a 50% discount on the cost of OA publishing.
Our peer review process is double-blind, meaning that while a manuscript is under review the identities of authors and reviewers will not be revealed to the other party. This system puts the research itself centre-stage and reduces the potential for unconscious bias that may result in an unfair review. Some have argued that in practice this means closing down part of our process. To maintain openness whilst reducing bias, we are currently participating in a Peer Review Transparency Pilot. With the consent of the author, reviews are published on Publons and linked to the manuscript. Reviewers may choose whether or not to have their name published with their review.
We are committed to Open Science and mandate the deposition of data into a public repository for all results published in the journal. We maintain a membership of Dryad, ensuring no fees for our authors so that they face no financial barrier in making the data supporting their results publicly available. As a community-led, non-profit digital repository, Dryad accepts data from any field in any format, ideal for highly interdisciplinary evolutionary biologists. Having removed this financial barrier, Open Data is now a prerequisite for articles published in our journal.
Open Data is now a prerequisite for articles published in JEB
We recognise that the scientific publication landscape is in a state of change. Looking to the future, we feel that a model based entirely on article processing charges is not equitable for all. As such, ESEB has formed an advisory group, consisting of 14 society members. This group represents a breadth of career stages, genders and nationalities who, over the coming months, will debate what is important to the evolutionary biology community when publishing their research and the role of JEB as a society journal in the move towards Open Science.
Dr Nicola Cook, Managing Editor @evoNicki