Friday, April 27, 2012

What about GeoSociety journals?

There has been a fair bit of attention recently in the media and on science blogs about the evils of the academic publishing industry and how much profit the publishers get for all of the unpaid work that scientists provide in terms of writing, editing, and reviewing the content, combined with a cry for academics to consider publishing instead in open access journals.  This suggested solution makes a certain amount of sense to me, but I find myself wondering about the journals which are associated with Geologic Societies (for example the Australian Journal of Earth Science, which is available to members of the Geological Society of Australia, or Elements, which is available to members of number of Mineralogical societies in a variety different countries).  These journals are not open access, but the memberships base of the societies are, sometimes, very extensive, and some of these societies have reasonable membership rates.

For those of you who are actively participating in the boycott of journals which are hidden behind a pay-wall, how do you feel about journals which are associated with such societies? There is still a pay-wall, and in some (all?) cases there is a professional publisher which does the publishing on behalf of the society (Taylor & Francis and GeoScience World  for the above two examples).  Does the fact that the journal is one of the perks to membership in the society help alleviate the concerns about paywalls?  Are these sorts of journals handled any differently than those which are only for profit of the publisher?

I am wondering about this because I am just about ready to submit an article for publication, and the most logical journal for that particular research happens to be AJES. Therefore I would appreciate hearing other people’s thoughts on this subject.


Rod said...

Although there is a "paywall" for non-members for journals like AJES (I am a member of the Geological Society of Australia) access for non-members is not too difficult because of the availability at many libraries (and even more so with libraries sharing online access these days).

I think that it is logical try and publish in an US/European/Australian/other journal when the balance of the research and outcomes is focused on a matter in the country of origin of the journal. If the research has relevance mainly on a broader topic e.g. metamorphic geology it would be reasonable to go into one focused on this.

Free journals are fine but at this stage they really only lend themselves to very generalist aspects. Just my 2c.

Knight said...

My father got his masters degree is geology, but he and I never talked much about it. It's interesting to see how much actually goes on beneath the surface of these studies, the genuine interest in what socially appears to just be 'rocks'.