Scholars Create Influential Journal for About $100 a Year
A group of herpetologists—researchers who study reptiles and amphibians—has been quietly demonstrating that it’s possible to put together a well-regarded, researcher-run journal with the tiniest of budgets and no help from a publisher.
The journal, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, caught my eye as a well-developed example of a movement for grass-roots scholarly publishing that has been rapidly picking up speed. The herpetology publication, founded in 2006, is an online-only, open-access, peer-reviewed journal with a budget of about $100 a year. (That money comes out of the editors’ pockets.) Unlike most science journals, it charges no author or download fees. It has a submission-to-publication turnaround time measured in weeks or at most a few months.
And it has just hit a milestone: The editors learned in December 2010 that HCB will be included in Journal Citation Reports, a service run by the commercial publisher Thomson Reuters that calculates impact factors for journals—a significant measure of importance for many researchers. HCB will receive its first impact rating in 2012 or 2013, and the editors expect the journal to rate highly. That credential will help reassure potential contributors, especially researchers who don’t yet have tenure, that publishing an article in HCB will be good for their careers.