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Journal Offers Flat Fee for 'All You Can Publish

from Nature News

Science-publishing ventures continually battle for market space, yet most operate on one of only two basic business models. Either subscribers pay for access, or authors pay for each publication--often thousands of dollars--with access being free. But in what publishing experts say is a radical experiment, an open-access venture called PeerJ, which formally announced its launch on 12 June, is carving out a fresh niche. It is asking its authors for only a one-off fee to secure a lifetime membership that will allow them to publish free, peer-reviewed research papers.

Relying on a custom-built, open-source platform to streamline its publication process, PeerJ aims to drive down the costs of research publishing, say its founders: Peter Binfield, who until recently was publisher of the world's largest journal, PLoS ONE, and Jason Hoyt, who previously worked at the research-paper-sharing site Mendeley. Their involvement is a major reason for the buzz around PeerJ. "I thought--wow--if the people I'm hearing about are working there--that's the sign of something happening. It makes it less crazy," says John Wilbanks, an advocate of open access and a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri.

PeerJ is just one of a flurry of experiments, encouraged in part by the gathering momentum of open access, that might shape the future of research publishing. "We are seeing a Cambrian explosion of experiments with new publishing models. It's going to be an interesting period for the next few years," says Binfield.


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