We take great pride in helping our partners transition to more open journal publishing policies and practices. We seek to transition what have historically been subscription journals to fully open access journals when it looks to be a viable and beneficial publishing option for the community it serves.
With that in mind, and as part of Open Access Week, we spoke to Céline Carret, one of the editors of EMBO Molecular Medicine, which transitioned from a subscription model to open access back in 2012, to learn about her journal’s transition, the community’s response, and lessons learned for other editors who may be considering a transition to OA.
Q. Let’s start with an easy one. Could you tell us a bit about your journal and the community it serves?
A. EMBO Molecular Medicine was founded in 2009 and aims at publishing molecular and clinical studies of the highest quality. The EMBO community is focused on basic science questions across all forms of life, but this increasingly overlaps with medical interest and, with EMBO Molecular Medicine, we wanted to expand our community specifically to reach clinicians and translational researchers, as well as showcasing the medical potential of their research to the EMBO community.
Q What were the reasons behind the decision to transition the journal to open access?
A. EMBO Press has always strived to be as open as possible and became an innovator in OA early on with EMBO Molecular Medicine’s sister journal, Molecular Systems Biology, which was a first- generation OA journal back in 2005. EMBO Molecular Medicine was still a new journal with relatively small publication volumes in 2012 when we flipped to OA, which allowed for an easier, lower risk transition.
We focused on EMBO Molecular Medicine for OA, as clinical and translational areas were new territories for EMBO, so there were benefits through OA to increase the visibility to a community not necessarily aware of EMBO. Clinical and health relevance are also the most important research from a public interest point of view, making OA particularly important as it ensures the research can be widely read and shared.
Q. What kind of feedback did you receive from the community after making the decision to transition to open access?
A. Overall people are in favor of OA, but don’t like to be charged the APCs (Article Publication Charges) that often come from their research budgets. We use APCs to ensure the quality, maintenance and enhancement of the editorial and publishing processes foundational to all five EMBO Press journals. We are part of the Research4Life Initiative and reduce our APC costs when limited funding can be demonstrated. It is essential in our view that any OA model ensures equitable access to the journal for all authors, irrespective of funding.
Q. Do you have any advice for other editors whose journals are making the transition to open access?
A. They should clearly define their aims in terms of quality and selectivity and, considering this, conduct a cost-benefit analysis. They should also keep an eye on the community and competitors, as OA may help to distinguish their journal. Going OA for medical journals makes sense as it provides the public, patients and medical staff access to the relevant research.
Thanks for the advice Céline!