The wave of open-access journals shifts the cost of access from readers to authors. The older former print-only publishers often 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 firstname.lastname@example.org know.
Here are some good open access journals (and their supporting organisation) in the field of marine and/or biodiversity science:
- Advances in Oceanography and Limnology (Italian Association of Limnology and Oceanology)
- Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences) is the official journal of Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Brazilian Academy of Sciences)
- Animal Migration (De Gruyter publisher)
- Arquipelago, Life and Marine Sciences (University of the Azores)
- Arthropoda Selecta (KMK Scientific Press Ltd)
- Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny (Senckenberg)
- Atoll Research Bulletin (Smithsonian, information for authors)
- Agua y Territorio / Water and Landscape (AYT / WAL) (supported by Permanent Seminar Water, Territory and Environment, Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, CSIC, and the University of Jaen)
- Beche de Mer Bulletin (supported by Australian Government, European Union, France and New Zealand Aid Programme)
- Biological Communications (supported by Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)
- Biodiversity Informatics (University of Kansas)
- Biogeographia – The Journal of Integrative Biogeography (Italian Biogeography Society)
- Blumea (Naturalis)
- Bonn Zoological Bulletin (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Germany)
- CIOH Scientific Bulletin for oceanographic research (General Maritime Directorate (Dimar), Columbia)
- Conservation and Society (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, ATREE)
- Current Science (Current Science Association and the Indian Academy of Sciences)
- Earth System Science Data (ESSD) (Copernicus Publisher)
- Ecological Processes (Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
- ERLACS – European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (social sciences, Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA), University of Amsterdam)
- European Journal of Taxonomy (a consortium of European natural history institutions and museums)
- Environmental Research: Climate (IOP Publishing, part of the Institute of Physics (IOP), a not-for-profit society)
- ExRNA (extracellular RNA journal) (Nanjing University)
- Forest Ecosystems (Beijing Forestry University)
- Frontiers in Biogeography (International Biogeography Society) [publication costs range from US$150-300 for those able to pay]
- Geoscience Frontiers (China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University)
- Hystrix – The Italian Journal of Mammalogy (the Italian Society for Theriology)
- Iheringia, Série Zoologia (Museu de Ciências Naturais of the Secretaria do Meio Ambiente e Infraestrutura – RS)
- International Aquatic Research (Islamic Azad University, Tonekabon Branch, Iran)
- Invertebrate Zoology (KMK Scientific Press Ltd)
- Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries (University of Kerala, India)
- Journal of Indonesian Natural History (Department of Biology of the Andalas University, Indonesia and Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark)
- Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science (CSIRO Publishing on behalf of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in association with the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society)
- Marine & Fishery Sciences (MAFIS) (National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development – INIDEP, Argentina)
- Marine Ornithology: Journal of Seabird Research and Conservation (Pacific Seabird Group)
- Mediterranean Marine Science (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research)
- Micronesica (University of Guam), has voluntary page charges.
- NAMMCO Scientific Publications series (North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission)
- Natural Systems and Resources (Volgograd State University)
- Nauplius (Brazilian Crustacean Society)
- Neotropical Biodiversity (Ecuador´s National Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation)
- Notulae Algarum (AlgaeBase, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
- Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (PAZ) (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MZUSP))
- Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation (Brazilian Association for Ecological Science and Conservation)
- Physical Oceanography (Earth Sciences Division of Russian Academy of Sciences and Ministry for Science and Higher Education of Russian Federation)
- Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (National University and National History Museum of Singapore)
- Revista de Biología Tropical (University of Costa Rica)
- Russian Arctic (Russian Centre of Information and Legal Support for the Development of the Arctic)
- Scientia Marina (Institut de Ciències del Mar de Barcelona, CSIC)
- Seabird (The Seabird Group)
- Species Diversity (Japanese Society of Systematic Zoology)
- TAPROBANICA, The Journal of Asian Biodiversity (Faculty of Mathematics & Natural Sciences (FMIPA) of the University of Indonesia); voluntary payment of costs towards publication and colour figures
- The Journal of Basic and Applied Zoology includes physiology, ecology, biology (Egyptian Society for Biosciences Advancement)
- Truebia, a journal of zoology of the Indo-Australian archipelago (Research Center for Biology – Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) )
- Vertebrate Zoology (Senckenberg Museum of Zoology Dresden, Germany)
- Zoological Studies (Academia Sinica, Taipei)
- Zoosystematics and Evolution (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) but limited
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. Similarly, the Oryx – the international Journal of Conservation is open-access and will waive APC for any authors who do not have funds.
eLife says “A fee of $2,500* is collected for published research papers. However, authors with insufficient funding to pay the fee are eligible for a fee waiver.” It is mainly a biomed journal but includes Ecology and Evolutionary biology sections.
Web Ecology (European Ecological Federation) now says it charges APC but not how much.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (Institute of Paleobiology Polish Academy of Sciences) is open access and free to authors for papers less than 10 pages in length.
Due to a drop in revenue during the covid pandemic, the Journal of Threatened Taxa (a scientific community effort supported by several partners) has an to change to an author-pays model, but the costs are reasonable.
In addition, the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 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. Thus, it seems inadvisable to pay open-access fees to journals where the paper will become open-access at no cost.
The Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) are open access after 6 months but they charge over US$1,600 to publish in.
Please add any additional options in the Comments box below.
A searchable source for open-access journals is the Directory of Open Access Journals where I found 11 of the above journals on 14th April 2020.
Note that this open-access journal’s fees were covered by AWI but are not in 2020: Helgoland Marine Research (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research).
The European Commission is paying a for-profit publisher 820 euro to publish preprints from its research programmes (e.g., Horizon Europe) funded projects in an open-access platform called Open Research Europe. Publication is free for authors. PReprints get a DOI. Peer-review is post-publication, and as it is not anonymous, reviews are likely to be overwhelmingly positive and light; most researchers will not risk retribution by publishing negative criticisms of others’ work (there was a good reason for anonymous reviews). It is optional for authors to revise the paper. It is questionable whether this will meet the standard of a peer-reviewed journal unless they change some policies.
Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research (Chile)
Revista de Biologia Marina & Oceanografia (Chile)
Latin American of Aquatic Research (Chile) is certainly not free. Maybe it used to be free, now it costs U$D 300.
See yourself http://www.lajar.cl/au_en.html
Bulletin of Marine and Coastal Research (Boletín de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras) http://boletin.invemar.org.co/index.php/boletin. Publishing both, in English and Spanish. Published by the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras de Colombia (Colombia Marine and Coastal Research Institute).
Revista de Biología Tropical (International Journal of Tropical Biology)
Publish papers in English or Spanish.
RBT is already a member of FJN, thanks.
Invertebrate Zoology (KMK and Moscow State University, RUSSIA)
Publishes papers mostly in English but also in Russian with international peer review, indexed by SCOPUS
Interesting to see research funders planning to make open-access mandatory. However, they do not clarify who pays for this. If the authors and/or their funders then it is business as usual. Alternatively they could establish a new non-profit all-fields free-to-publish open-access journal that would compete with established journals (and make them reduce their prices at least). https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06178-7?WT.mc_id=EMX_NJOBS_0907_NATUREJOBSNEWSLETTER_A&WT.ec_id=EXTERNAL&spMailingID=57324901&spUserID=OTY1NzAyNDAwODYS1&spJobID=1480937501&spReportId=MTQ4MDkzNzUwMQS2
One journal describes what its publication costs are: https://elifesciences.org/inside-elife/a058ec77/what-it-costs-to-publish
Contributions to Zoology changed publisher and now charges more than 1000 Euro.
Invertebrate Reproduction & Development
Thank you for the suggestion. However, the web pages indicate that this journal charges authors EUR 2395 to publish research articles open access. So not free to authors.
Interesting philosophy of new journal Ecology and Evolution discourages online “Supplementary Material” (SM) on the basis that (1) if it is data then it should be lodged in a discipline-specific repository (e.g., GBIF, OBIS, GenBank), and (2) if it is what traditional appendices contained, like details of additional analyses done or methods, then it should be in an Appendix as part of the paper (following the references). Journals are not required to archive SM as they are the published paper, so SM often get lost (broken links). Also, journals do not even look at the SM and many referees and editors may only glance at them. However, if the Appendix is really appended to the paper the journal, editors and referees will examine it.
Useful open access archives and software:
Open Access Directory http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Main_Page
https://arxiv.org/ archiving over 1 million pre-prints in physical and computational sciences and for Social Science and Humanities there is https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/
The Centre Mersenne https://www.centre-mersenne.org/ develops a comprehensive publishing infrastructure based on a modular service catalogue towards scientific communities publishing in LaTeX … a dissemination platform for open access scientific publications.
Public Knowledge Project is a multi-university initiative developing (free) open-source software (Open Journal, Open conference etc.) https://pkp.sfu.ca/
This blog post points out the bad practice by even top journals in hiding taxonomic descriptions in online ‘supplementary material’ which is not checked by the journal and often overlooked by referees. Worse, this SM is behind paywalls even though the journal has not added any value to it (it is as provided by the authors) they are charging readers to access what is not theirs to charge for http://plazi.org/news/beitrag/science-magazine-why-not-be-more-open-liberated-biodiversity-data-as-a-win-win-case/0a59a0abb47d3115a1a98a6d845f8041/
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation: free for authors.
Open-access Plan S to allow publishing in any journal
Under Plan S, certain funding agencies will require recipients to agree in their funding contract to make their own version of accepted papers open-access on their institutional and/or other websites immediately upon acceptance. This would override any subsequent terms of publication in the publisher’s agreement with authors. This is called “Green Open Access” but some publishers prevent authors from doing this. In any case, it is possible for an author to amend any publisher agreement with their own terms. I am others have done this and the publisher never disputes it. For example, you can reserve the royalty-free right to use all images and share the pdf with colleagues and students, and use in teaching.
I should start a list of low (reasonable) priced open-access journals when time allows.
The environmental sciences journal ‘Essence” https://essence-journal.com/aims-scope/ has article processing charges (APC) of $40 – $50 depending upon the paper, but for the students it is $20 – $25.
Other open-access journals that may be included: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências https://www.scielo.br/revistas/aabc/iinstruc.htm
Iheringia Série Zoologia https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=0073-4721
Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia https://www.revistas.usp.br/paz/index
Neotropical Biodiversity https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tneo20/current
Zoosystematics and evolution https://zse.pensoft.net/
Hi Mark. I have been starting to look in more depth at OA issues for our deep-ocean community in order to advise on the best options. We will start a small task force shortly. In the meantime, I noticed that the Journal of Marine Sciences has been added to DOAJ in June with an APC of $750USD.
SciPost provides a full scientific publication platform free to authors and readers, although only for Physics journals at present https://scipost.org/about
Free textbooks at https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks
I thank Angie Appel for providing several additional journals to add to this list.
Thanks for this list!
Two more journals to consider in the field of marine ornithology:
This new journal “EUREKA: Life Sciences” charges APC of 100-150 euro per paper
Very informative blog article.Really looking forward to read more. thank you for your article post