Open Access Journals

As society continually drifts into the Information Age, printed media is quickly being converted into online blogs, newspapers, and videos. The same can be said about academic journals; many issues of long-standing journals are now downloadable as a PDF. Another trending topic is open-sourcing information. Many computer codes, graphics, and research-related items are now being posted online for free so anyone can use the files for their own benefit. Some academic journals have embraced open sourcing; one such journal is the Advanced Modeling and Simulation in Engineering Sciences journal (AMSES). As the name implies, this open-sourced journal focuses on modeling & simulation, multibody dynamics, nonlinear systems, and the underlying numerical methods used to solve these complex problems. As per other open-source information banks, every article published in this journal is available 24/7 at no cost. Users do not need to subscribe to an organization or pay a significant fee to access papers. However, authors of accepted papers must pay up to $1230 in “article processing charges,” but some (or all) of the cost may be waived if the authors belong to a university that is partnered with SpringerOpen, the “umbrella organization” of this journal. Interestingly, VT is a partner, so students who publish in this journal won’t have to pay the entire charge.

One unique advantage of this open-source journal is the ability to publish creative graphics to complement the paper. Publication gives publishers the chance to publicize extremely large datasets, post moving/animated images, and provide direct access to the data used to create the visuals so they can manipulate the data themselves. In addition, the SpringerOpen library is a popular “brand name” of journal collections, so articles experience high visibility once published. One interesting tidbit states that published articles are downloaded 7 more times, have 50% more citations, and 10x more online mentions than papers published in non-open access journals. This may be a financial consequence; it’s much easier to access these articles because they are freely available online (whereas traditional journals may keep their issues behind a paywall).

As for the AMSES journal itself, the editorial board consists of many reviewers worldwide. This is consistent with some of the famous mechanical engineering journals. For instance, the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Controls (non-open access) has many editors from not only the US but from many countries (Italy, India, and Canada, to name a few). The AMSES journal touts a fast reviewing rate; on average, it takes 61 days for the editors to make a decision and 22 days to publish an accepted paper, yet the acceptance rate is less than 18%. I’m not sure if this is a consequence of being fully online and open-sourced; many non-open source articles nowadays are also using electronic methods to review articles. I was slightly disappointed when reading through the Aim & Scope; it doesn’t mention why this article was open-sourced or provide any statistics that are commonly associated with traditional journals (like Impact Factor). I wonder if open-sourced journals have a separate set of metrics, given their intrinsically different viewpoint on ease of journal access.

2 thoughts on “Open Access Journals”

  1. Thanks for your post! The journal I chose did not explain either the reason why it is open access. I would like for open access journals to make public statements about why they choose to be that way and why this benefit the research community. About the metrics to evaluate a journal, I think there are more than the “impact factor” you mentioned, but the officially recognized is that one. I think you are right, there is the need to use a different measure to evaluate the open access journals. Do you think it would be feasible a movement among researchers to stop using the impact factor metric? Since many times they are the ones who promote this metric by including their impact factor in their CVs and portfolios.

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    1. Thank you very much for raising the issue of graphics! Traditional journals naturally restrict the significance of graphics considering that publication occurs in only two dimensions. Traditional journals will also restrict the significance of graphics with journal-specific requirements for different types of data visualization.

      Open access journals provide authors with the unique opportunity to creatively visualize graphical representations of data. For example, simulations that can be either author-defined or user-defined have the ability to present contrasting cases that optimize the ability of the user to discern patterns and thereby offer the user a better environment for discovering the deep structure of data.

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