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Open Access Journals – Free at the Point of Readership

No doubt you’ll be as excited as I am at the prospect next week of not one but two new open access global health journals: the Lancet Global Health and Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP). Prompted by a twitter exchange with @MarkRTurner and Lancet editor @pam_das (which you can – for the time being at least – see on the right), I did a quick review of Open Access journal Article Processing Charges (APCs). Here’s what I found: 

Open access journals  

Clearly there is a spread of charges, but one shouldn’t jump to too hasty comparisons. As Pam tweets, one needs to understand who owns the journal. GHSP is published by USAID, for example, so presumably the US government covers the journal’s administrative costs. Ditto principle applies to the BWHO. 

There is also the question of waivers. The Lancet Global Health journal supports the HINARI access to research in health programmes (as do other open access journals) and does not charge a fee to Group A and B countries.  The Oxford Journals give a 50 per cent reduction to Group B countries ($1500) and charge $0 to Group A countries. Furthermore, many journals are prepared to waive APCs for individual authors who don’t have institutional or grant support – determined on a case by case basis. 

 So, if you’re thinking of submitting an article to Lancet Global Health and are balking at its hefty APC, have a look at the small print – you may be covered. Alternatively, shop around. PLOS Medicine is nearly $2k less than the Lancet Global Health. My favourite journal at the moment is the glossy student-led publication A Global Village. Like GHSP, it won’t cost you a penny!







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