Open access journals in agricultural science: adopting 'fee-less-free' model of Medknow
Sahu, D.K. (2006) Open access journals in agricultural science: adopting 'fee-less-free' model of Medknow. In: First Workshop on Open Access in Agricultural Science and Technology: Indian Initiatives, 6-7 Nov 2006, Hyderabad, India.
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Most ‘international’ journals are not international in terms of their content, readership and composition of the editorial boards. Hence, local journals are important to provide local knowledge / local evidence and help in policy making. For a local journal to be successful, it needs quality papers, time of editors and reviewers, finances and readers. Most journals from the developing countries face problems due to lack of time from their part time editors who have more than one job at hand. The journal offices keep changing with the change of editors and loose the contacts with the authors, subscribers and advertisers. In addition, most of these journals have limited visibility outside the print circulation restricted to the members their association. Open access offers help to such journals by increasing the visibility and accessibility as has been shown by Medknow Publications. Medknow now publishing 40 journals has adopted unique ‘fee-less immediate free’ model of publishing. The journals published by Medknow use its manuscript processing system (www.journalonweb.com) which helps in faster review and resource saving. On acceptance articles are published online without any embargo. The revenue from subscriptions for print edition, advertisements, reprints sale and membership dues helps to take care of the print and online publishing. The increased visibility offered by free access has helped to increase number of articles submitted to these journals which in turn has help to publish more number of articles per issue (e.g. Indian Journal of Urology, www.indianjurol.com) and more number of issues per volume (e.g. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, www.ijo.in). Not just the submitted manuscripts, but also the citations received by these journals have increased. Interestingly and importantly for the journals from the developing world, by providing free online access none of these journals have lost subscribers to the print edition. Over the last four years, the number of paid subscribers to these journals has been increasing consistently. Hence, it may be apt for the journals from agriculture science in India to adopt a similar ‘free-less-free’ model which helps to improve the quality of the journals.
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