Mon 12 Oct 2015 8:06PM

Should we support MDPI in setting up the OA journal 'Vision'

LD Lee de-Wit Public Seen by 229

A number of people in the vision science community have recently been contacted by MDPI (http://www.mdpi.com/) to ask if they would become an editor of a new Open Access journal called 'Vision' (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/vision). So far five editors have accepted (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/vision/editors).

MDPI have been accused of being something of a 'predatory open-access publisher', but a report by the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association suggests this is unfounded (http://oaspa.org/conclusions-from-oaspa-membership-committee-investigation-into-mdpi/).

It will be free to publish articles submitted in 2015 and 2016 (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/vision/apc). with Vision while the journal establishes its self. After that date it is not clear how much it will cost, but MDPI claims to be 'committed to keeping its open access publication charges at a minimum level'. Author Publication Charges for existing journals range from 155-1661 dollars, though many journals charge just over 300 dollars per article (http://www.mdpi.com/about/apc).

Simon Rushton is currently organizing a Skype meeting with MDPI to discuss the future of 'Vision' and how MDPI could serve the vision science community (hopefully on 16/10). If you have questions for this discussion, or issues you would like to raise, please comment below. Some of the questions we plan to ask so far include:

  • future of costing policy, what is a viable long term APC for MDPI. What do they anticipate Vision increasing to?
  • editorial control (role of publisher in that?)
  • Anticipated size of editorial board?
  • publishing criteria (novelty or rigor – is that up to the editors?)
  • nature of review process (option for open reviews?)
  • facilities for hosting of data and code with publications?
  • how will it differ from Journal of Vision?

Marco Bertamini Mon 12 Oct 2015 8:39PM

Hi, I have some experience with Symmetry, which is a MDPI journal. Charges for Symmetry are about 500 pound per article, with the usual system of institutional memberships and discounts. My impression is that it is a typical for-profit publisher. The structure is standard. I guess the best one can hope is that it will be a somewhat cheaper version of JOV.


Nick Scott-Samuel Tue 13 Oct 2015 7:54AM

I'm a lot less keen if this turns out to be simply another open access journal with rather opaque accounts and a pricing structure with no obvious rationale. My ideal would still be an open access, open accounts, zero profit option. I see no reason that scientific publishing should be turning a profit (unless it's for a learned society, and the money is ploughed back into the research area).


Tom Wallis Wed 14 Oct 2015 9:05AM

I'm with Nick. This option sounds like a slightly cheaper JoV; I don't think that alone is worth supporting a new journal over our established open-access option (JoV).

Personally, I'm still keen on a curated perception page on PeerJ.


Simon Rushton Wed 14 Oct 2015 12:28PM

Note that the lower (and most common) price point for MDPI is 300 CHF. Thats about £200. If you look into the PeerJ pricing its not clear to me that they would be cheaper. Indeed I think they would be more expensive unless you send everything to them.


Simon Rushton Wed 14 Oct 2015 3:41PM

The other point is that we have to face up to the age-old problem - we are academics, we are very good about moaning and having great ideas but terrible about actually taking action. I'd argue we need an outside "nasty capitalist" publisher to start a journal because we never will... Or is someone going to prove me wrong?

Btw, I just got an email re Frontiers finances and APCs


Nick Scott-Samuel Wed 14 Oct 2015 3:53PM

Isn't the counter example to your premise Beau Watson (academic, started JoV)?


Simon Rushton Wed 14 Oct 2015 4:33PM

Is JoV low-cost and true open access (CC-BY by default)?


Nick Scott-Samuel Wed 14 Oct 2015 7:32PM

I think that it was, originally. Of course, Beau isn't there now...


Jon Peirce Thu 15 Oct 2015 8:50AM

So the question for MDPI, following Tom's point above, is how they will be (and stay) different to JoV? We don't just want another journal to confuse things for the sake of it.


Simon Rushton Thu 15 Oct 2015 10:40AM

Thanks Jon. Maybe we should add iPerception as well as that does seem to have already taken the slot for "a somewhat cheaper version of JoV".

So any other questions for us to ask tomorrow?

If any of you have a few minutes to spare then there is one thing you could do that might be helpful for the discussions tomorrow. Go back over the past 3 or 4 years, and work out the costs if you had sent the papers you published in Vision Research or JoV to PeerJ instead. Pricing info here https://peerj.com/pricing/ How do the numbers stack up? What would it actually have cost you on average per article? Please do the calculations based on real data on co-authors, papers per year etc rather than just use the slider on the PeerJ webpage.

Also for those of you that are very preoccupied by costs and open accounts, can you read the Frontiers blog post (see earlier post) about their finances and costs and post some thoughts? Again, this might help us form a realistic idea of how much an APC should be and what we might expect of a publisher.

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