The wave of open-access journals shifts the cost of access from readers to authors. The older former print-only publishers charge authors over $2,000 or more per paper. Comparison with new scholarly journals who are also open-access but only charge authors $100’s to around $1,000 indicates these charges include a huge profit. This high cost may be justified if you are getting into a top-ranked journal (e.g. Impact Factor of 10 or more) but I suggest is not good value for typical specialist journals. Paying such high fees encourages such journals to charge them despite our universities already paying subscriptions to them (so-called double dipping).

The good news is there are excellent scholarly journals with prestigious editorial boards which are much lower cost, or become open access after some months (so those who pay a subscription get early free access), or are immediately free to authors and readers due to support from a research institute. Most of these have respectable impacts factors of over 1.

The new Free Journal Network initiative is encouraging the science community to support free to authors and readers journals. Listed journals are vetted by experts and pre-approve their listing. If you know of well-established, scholarly, free-to-authors and open-access, journals please let know.

Here are some good open access journals (and their host institutions) in the field of marine and biodiversity science :

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (Institute of Paleobiology Polish Academy of Sciences)

Arquipelago, Life and Marine Sciences (University of the Azores)

Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny  (Senckenberg)

Atoll Research Bulletin (Smithsonian)

Beche de Mer Bulletin  (supported by Australian Government, European Union, France and New Zealand Aid Programme)

Biodiversity Informatics (University of Kansas)

Biogeographia – The Journal of Integrative Biogeography (Italian Biogeography Society)

Blumea (Naturalis)

Conservation and Society (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, ATREE)

European Journal of Taxonomy (a consortium of European natural history institutions and museums)

Helgoland Marine Research (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research)

Invertebrate Zoology (KMK Scientific Press Ltd, associated with Zoological Museum, Moscow State University)

Journal of Threatened Taxa (a scientific community effort supported by several partners)

Mediterranean Marine Science (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research)

Micronesica (University of Guam), has voluntary page charges.

Nauplius (Brazilian Crustacean Society)

Revista de Biología Tropical (University of Costa Rica)

Scientia Marina (Institut de Ciències del Mar de Barcelona, CSIC)

Zoological Studies (Academia Sinica, Taipei)  


Diversity and Distributions is open-access and will waive page charges for anybody who lacks funds, and automatically for some countries. This is after some resignations and complaints from authors when it went entirely open-access with high fees for authors.

In addition, the ICES J. Marine Science, Science and sister journals, and Cell Press journals (Trends in Ecology and Evolution and Current Biology), are free to publish in and all papers become OA after a year. Marine Ecology Progress Series is free to publish in and all articles are open access after 5 years.

The Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) are open access after 6 months but they charge over US$1,600 to publish in.

Please add any additional options in the Comments box below.

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