Now Elsevier starts a PLoS ONE clone
December 16, 2011
Hot on the heels of PLoS ONE-like open-access megajournals such as BMJ Open, Nature’s Scientific Reports, the Royal Society’s Open Biology and SAGE’s SAGE Open, now the king of evil predatory price-gouging publishers-whose-business-model-is-to-prevent-papers-being-read Elsevier are — you won’t believe this — launching their own PLoS ONE clone, FEBS Open Bio.
So please join me in giving a hearty “meh”.
I don’t see how this can work. Surely the only reason people ever send their work to Elsevier journals rather than somewhere truly open is because of the reputation that individual Elsevier-owned journals have accumulated over the years? No-one sends to Cretaceous Research because it’s published by Elsevier, do they? In which case I don’t see who is going to submit to a brand new Elsevier journal just because it’s Elsevier’s when PLoS ONE already has the momentum and (increasingly) the prestige.
So I am not predicting a bright future for FEBS Open Bio.
And that suits me fine. Success should go to people who went open because it was the right thing to do, not to for-profit publishers who are belatedly realising that the world has changed and scrabbling to make the best they can of it.
Oh, and by the way: a little bit of searching shows that FEBS Open Bio not actually Open Access. Its User Rights page says that “articles are protected by copyright and may be used for non-commercial purposes”, and goes on to give a long list of things that you’re not allowed to do with FEBS Open Bio articles. As Peter Murray-Rust points out, it’s not Open Access if it has the “non-commercial” clause, which has all sorts of undesirable consequences.