First, I should direct interested readers to this blog post extensively and explicitly about open source journals in paleontology. I have them to thank for the ease of selecting a journal to write about for this post. I actually had a lot of options – but have decided to look at Proceedings of the Royal Society B as this is a journal that comes up very often that I know less about than, say, PLOS ONE. Where quoting the Royal Society and its pages, I have made some minor spelling changes to reflect American spelling preferences.
We’ll be considering
- Where (location, organization, university, etc.) is the journal from?
- What are the purpose, goals, scope, etc. of the journal?
- How does the journal address/explain open access? How (if at all) does it position itself within the open access movement?
To answer these questions, we’ll of course be starting at the about page of the journal. As you may guess, the Royal Society is headquartered out of London, and is a UK national institution – a society journal – rather than a University publication. The society publishes other journals as well, but this journal is for research pertaining to the biological sciences – where paleontology often falls (when not nested in Geology).
The journal’s purpose is, of course, to publish novel scientific research as a way of approaching the society’s mission “to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.” They overtly aim for a global scope.
Under the journals publishing ethics and policies page, we find a clear statement on the last question: “The Society supports open access publishing and promotion of free content as part of our commitment to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs.” This statement reads almost like a mission – open access is part of the identity of the journal under the common belief that open transparent science is more accessible and better distributed. Other pages of theirs insist more clearly on the aspect of transparency in data for the sake of repeat-ability of analyses. They also have a pro-open source data page and offer processing discounts to members of open-access programs. I would consider these positions, policies, and options as a clear positioning of the journal in favor of open access.