at Leeds are taking part in pioneering online
journals which make research findings accessible
in Internet-based ‘open access journals’
is paid for before publication – typically
a few hundred pounds per article – by
the author or funding body. Articles are then
made accessible to researchers for no charge.
Jan Wilkinson, University Librarian, welcomed
the new development. “It’s vital
that we investigate all new routes for publishing
in order to improve the impact and visibility
of the research done at Leeds,” she
said. “Research has shown that openly-accessible
research is more widely cited than papers
published in traditional subscription journals.”
than 30 academics at Leeds University have
published papers in the journals of the open
access publisher, BioMedCentral, which are
available from its website without charge.
Publishing in BMC journals is free, with costs
picked up by JISC, the Joint Information Systems
The open access model is being enthusiastically
adopted by publishers keen to explore new
methods of disseminating research to a wider
community, including Oxford University Press
and the Public Library of Science.
Open access publishers are also experimenting
with new models of peer review. Leeds-based
open access journal Atmospheric Chemistry
and Physics goes one step further and allows
open peer review.
When papers are submitted to ACP for peer
review, the journal posts them online and
holds a commentary session where scientists
can debate the work. The papers then undergo
full traditional peer review, with the referees’
comments also being published.
Ken Carslaw, from the school of the environment,
which publishes ACP, said: “The theory
behind an open access journal is to place
the balance of power back with the academics
whose work is being published.
“Traditional peer review is a good way
of assessing new research but it isn’t
problem-free. Good work can be rejected if
it clashes with the reviewers’ own studies
or opinions, or technical errors can be missed,
especially where papers span different disciplines.”