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An overview of Open Access publishing in palaeontology

Jonathan P. Tennant and Dean R. Lomax

Plain Language Abstract

Open Access (OA) describes the free, unrestricted access to and re-use of published research articles. In the last two decades, there has been an incredible surge in the number of OA journals and policies at different scales throughout the global research system. Recently, the announcement of ‘Plan S’ has catalysed a new wave of interest, debate, and practice surrounding OA. Here, we provide a simple overview of the ‘OA state’ of palaeontology journals within this rapidly shifting landscape. In particular, we focus on aspects such as whether or not there are author-facing charges for Open Access, what embargo periods or restrictions on ‘self-archiving’ policies are in place, and whether or not the sharing of preprints is permitted. What is clear is that the palaeontology journal landscape is complex, and the information quality is variable. The majority of journals have self-archiving policies that allow authors to share their work via ‘green OA’ without charge. There is a clear relationship between ‘journal impact’ and higher charges levied for OA. The most expensive journals are typically owned by the large, commercial, publishing houses, rather than the palaeontology community themselves. However, there are a number of article processing charge (APC)-free OA journals (often called ‘diamond OA’ journals) that can also be considered to be of moderate impact. Until the palaeontology community makes the decision to move away from journal-based evaluation criteria (e.g., the impact factor), it is likely that such high costs will continue to impose financial inequities upon the research community. However, until such culture change occurs, palaeontologists should continue to embrace legal self-archiving as an equitable and sustainable way to progress communication of their research.

Resumen en Español

In progress

Traducción: Enrique Peñalver (Sociedad Española de Paleontología) or Diana Elizabeth Fernández

Résumé en Français

In progress

Translator: Antoine Souron

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

In progress

Translator: Eva Gebauer


in progress

Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa


In progress

Translator:  Krzysztof Stefaniak

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