Tuesday, February 12, 2013
PeerJ and Why Giraffes Have Short Necks
Sometimes in life you need a new perspective. In the entirety of my existence, I've always thought of giraffes as having long necks, and I bet many of you did too. But then PeerJ went live today and suddenly my view of giraffes changed. Instead of long necks, they're more of a medium neck creature. You see, today I discovered that sauropod dinosaurs had necks 15 meters in length or 6x longer than the world record for giraffes.** And as an aside, I learned what anatomic features enabled them to have such long necks.
And it's not just my perspective on neck length that changed today, it's my perspective on open-access publishing. Until today, if you wanted to publish in an open-access journal, it would be a high-cost affair. For example, publishing in BMC-Infectious Diseases might cost you $2055/article and publishing in PLoS One might cost you $1350/article. Starting today, you can publish your hard-earned research findings in an open-access, advertising free peer-reviewed journal for .... $99. And that one-time only $99 "membership" will allow you to publish one article a year. Of course there's a slight catch. Each author has to pay the $99, so if you have 5 authors, it'll cost you $495. If you usually publish with the same author group, that will be a one-time cost.
We've written frequently about the benefits of open-access publishing including increased readership of your papers and the societal benefits of free access to research findings for our tax-paying funders (thank you tax payers!). There are many perceived barriers to open-access, particularly legacy promotion/tenure committees at universities, but these can be overcome. One real barrier has always been cost, but at $99 or even $495 that barrier is slowly going away. What a nice change in perspective!
For more info see Mike Taylor's post in the Guardian Feb 12, 2013
Image source: wikipedia
COI acknowledgement: I'm an Academic Editor at PeerJ (as is Dan). I'm also a section editor at the open-access journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, and was recently named Section Editor for SHEA's journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
**Yes, I've seen a sauropod skeleton before but I've never thought of giraffes as having short necks. It's the juxtaposition that was refreshing, like open-access next to $99.