Open Scholar coordinates a partnership between Psicológica, the journal of the Spanish Society for Experimental Psychology (SEPEX), and DIGITAL.CSIC, the institutional repository of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to offer a novel model of sustainable Diamond (free) Open Access based on advanced Repository-as-a-Publisher services.
The transition of academic publishing to an open access business model has generated heated debates about publication costs, which are now shifting from libraries to authors and their institutions. In the age of digital publishing and with a quality system based on peer reviews performed by academics for free, many are asking why publishers should charge up to 11,000 euros per article. Are the exorbitant revenues from publishing invested in improving the quality of the services offered or are they merely profits that go directly into the pockets of shareholders? Would science and academia benefit from an alternative, less costly but equally —or more— efficient publishing model that would use the financial resources now lost in the black hole of commercial publishers to create useful services that actually add value to scholarly output?
In 2019, Open Scholar started discussions with the editors of the journal Psicológica and the managers of DIGITAL.CSIC to develop an innovative workflow for handling incoming manuscripts, organising peer review using the repository’s Open Peer Review Module, and publishing all journal content on the repository platform at zero cost for authors and readers.
Absolute control of the publication process, in the absence of a commercial publisher, not only eliminates costs, but also allows the implementation of a series of innovative practices guided solely by an interest in scientific quality. Submitted manuscripts are immediately available in the repository as preprints. Registered reports are accepted and highly recommended, especially for replication studies. Availability of data and software code is a prerequisite for an experimental article to proceed to the review stage. Senior academic editors assign manuscripts to expert reviewers who are advised to provide signed reviews with the sole objective of improving the scientific quality of the reviewed articles. The full text of the review is published as a separate digital work with its own persistent identifier (DOI) and is linked to the reviewed manuscript. Authors’ responses to reviewers are also published, making the entire scholarly discussion open. Manuscripts that at the end of the review phase meet the quality standards set by the academic editors are included in the journal’s corpus and disseminated to indexing services and search engines. Importantly, authors retain the copyright of their works and are free to choose the license that best suits their interests. Last but not least, the evaluated papers, their authors, related reviews and reviewers benefit from an innovative reputation system grounded on quality ratings provided during the peer review process.
The journal was eventually relaunched in its new format as a Diamond Open Access journal in 2022. At Open Scholar we declare our firm intention to further promote this innovative publishing model and invite interested parties, including society journals, libraries, repository managers, academic institutions and scholarly associations, to contact us for more information and support on initiating new projects or transitioning existing journals