School of Computer Science THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM Commercial Free Philosophy

Use Free Open Access Journals
(This document now refers to a wider range of forms of open access publishing)
Aaron Sloman
Installed: 30 Nov 2009
Last updated: 5 Dec 2009; 4 Feb 2010; 22 May 2010; 19 Jun 2010; 18 Aug 2010; 23 Aug 2010; 26 Sep 2010; 29 Sep 2010; 3 Oct 2010; 25 Oct 2010; 8 Nov 2010; 3 Dec 2010; 14 Feb 2011;
1 Mar 2011; 12 Mar 2011; 13 May 2011; 9 Jul 2011; 29 Sep 2011; 11 Feb 2012; 7 Jun 2012; 5
Oct 2012; 28 Oct 2012; 31 Dec 2012

This file is:
Also available as
A slightly messy, automatically created PDF version is

See also this discussion of advantages of post-publication reviewing:

Additional discussion notes are listed in:

Jump to Main Contents List


NEWS 30 Jan 2013: Anthony Finkelstein's blog on open access is consistent with the viewpoint presented here:
This is also relevant:

The Scientist
Less Influence for High-Impact Journals
A new study reveals that more and more of the world's most-cited articles are published
outside of high prestige, high impact factor journals.
By Dan Cossins | November 9, 2012

The influence of high-impact factor journals is declining, according to a study published
this week (November 7) in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and
Technology. The findings raise questions over the relationship between the
impact-factor-the current best measure of a publication's influence-and the number of
citations subsequently received by papers published in that journal.

NEWS 5 Oct 2012: Interesting discussion -"PLoS ONE: from the Public Library of Sloppiness?"

NEWS 16 Jul 2012: UK Government will require all publicly-funded research to be made freely available to the public from late 2013.
    Willetts said: "Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research
    will have real economic and social benefits. It will allow academics and
    businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and
    herald a new era of academic discovery. This development will provide
    exciting new opportunities and keep the UK at the forefront of global
    research to drive innovation and growth."

    Professor Doug Kell, RCUK Champion for Research and Information
    Management said: "Widening access to the outputs of research currently
    published in journals has the potential to contribute substantially to
    furthering the progress of scientific and other research, ensuring that
    the UK continues to be a world leader in these fields. I am delighted
    that, together, the Research Councils have been able both to harmonise
    and to make significant changes to their policies, ensuring that more
    people have access to cutting edge research that can contribute to both
    economic growth in our knowledge economy and the wider wellbeing of the

24 Feb 2011 [Expanded Feb 2012; June 2012]: My current attitude to non-open-access journals.

I shall not normally knowingly and freely submit articles to closed-access
journals for publication, or do any reviewing for them.

I am not alone: thousands more have similar attitudes:

If there's anything for which my web site is not a suitable medium I'll try one
of the many excellent old and new open-access journals. (See examples below.)

One of many reasons for this is that I have increasingly been finding that the
subscription charges of traditional journals (e.g. published by Springer,
Elsevier, World Scientific, and others, are being used to pay marketing people
to spam me with unwanted announcements about new publications, new issues, new
offers etc. Our precious, very limited, research funding should not be used to
subsidise those processes. These people do not realise that if we want to find
out about what has been published in some topic we can use search engines very
effectively, and do not need to have already large amounts of incoming spam
increased. (Of course, people who want to be informed can ask to be informed.)

Some of these publishers claim that they give authors the option to have
open-access publications, but their charges are so extortionate as to deter most
researchers from accepting that offer. This is obviously a deliberate policy to
deter them from choosing the open-access option. Examples that I have found
include Elsevier, Springer, Wiley and others (e.g. the {\em Topics in Cognitive
Science} journal, to which I refuse to contribute, partly because they also
require use of MSWord, not LaTex.

For this and other reasons indicated below, when asked to review for a NON open
access journal I shall normally decline on the grounds that I don't see why I
should do unpaid work to benefit the shareholders of the company, and more
importantly, I want to make the researchers concerned with the journal think
about open access alternatives.

Editorial boards have been known to defect from commercial publishers and start afresh.
E.g. see

More researchers should now join the refusers, especially as there is now free
software available to do most of the admin required for a journal automatically,
as has already been happening for research conferences for several years.
(See the excellent examples listed below.)

Academics should also refuse to collaborate with appointment, tenure, or
promotion committees that that use where research is published as
a criterion of excellence, instead of making strenuous efforts to judge the
quality of the research (using expert external referees if necessary).
The strongest reason for this is that even if publication in a high quality
journal is evidence of research quality, rejection by such journals is NOT
evidence of poor quality, partly because such journals have limited space
available, partly because refereeing can be of variable quality, and partly
because in the current research climate it is in the interests of journals to
report high rejection rates.

Occasionally colleagues ask me to co-author, or review, or contribute to
something involving a closed journal. In some cases, if I think they really need
my help I may go along with this while trying hard to encourage them to switch
to using open-access options in future. (Harder for young academics when so many
appointment and promotion committees pay more attention to where something was
published than to its quality -- an intellectually lazy and irresponsible
attitude to selection or promotion.)
My policy is provisional and may change.


Note on Acceptance Rates

 Many journal editors boast about how low their acceptance rates are
compared with other journals.

What they don't say is that submitting a paper to their journal is a waste of
time for the vast majority of authors -- if their main objective is to get their
papers published.

Of course the journal may be providing a useful service if all the submitted
papers are carefully reviewed and the authors get helpful feedback that will
improve their research an future publications.

However, I think that for many researchers the use of pre-publication reviewing
is the wrong system. Open access combined with post-publication reviews can, for
many purposes provide a superior model, for reasons given in

NOTE: There are now so many new open access journals being announced that I cannot keep up.
I randomly select some to include here, to indicate the sort of thing that's happening.

I normally refuse to contribute to or review for journals that are not open access,
or which are open but charge authors extortionate amounts (presumably to discourage
them from selecting the open access option, e.g. Springer, Elsevier and others).

The amount of unwanted, unsolicited, advertising spam I get from advertising managers at
such companies shows what subscriptions and author charges are being used to pay for.
I would prefer not to use my precious funds to pay for such activities.

Updates and News about Open Access: Journals, Repositories, Blogs, ...

31 Dec 2012

    Frontiers is Open Science

    Frontiers is an online platform for the scientific community to publish open-access
    articles and network with colleagues.
    Fast, open-access publication
    Rigorous peer-review in real-time thanks to our interactive, online interface
    Detailed metrics to follow the impact of articles
    A networking platform made especially for the scientific community
    Example Article types
    Example Author fees

28 Oct 2012

    Constructivist Foundations
    This is an international peer-reviewed academic e-journal dedicated to
    constructivist issues raised by philosophy as well as the natural, human, and
    applied sciences. The journal publishes original scholarly work in all areas of
    constructivist approaches, especially radical constructivism, enaction and
    enactive cognitive science, second order cybernetics, biology of cognition and
    the theory of autopoietic systems, non-dualizing philosophy, and first-person
    research, among others. The readers of the journal will be kept up-to-date with
    the central issues of the Constructivist Community.
    There are no author charges, and access is free, though rading journal articles
    requires registration.
    Volume 7, Number 3 15 July 2012

7 Jun 2012

    Established in 1952 by Miguel Sanchez-Mazas, THEORIA is one of the leading
    philosophy journals in the Spanish-speaking world and a well-ranked
    publication in the Europe Science Foundation index (ERIH: INT2). It has also
    been ranked A by the Spanish ANEP and in the CARHUS plus index of the
    Generalitat de Catalunya. THEORIA cooperates with two Spanish philosophical
    societies: SOLOFICI and SEFA.

    It is regularly indexed in the following databases: Arts & Humanities
    Citation Index., ISI Alerting Services, SCOPUS, Current Contents./Arts &
    Humanities, DOAJ, Bulletin Signaletique 519, ICYT, ISOC, MathSci,
    Mathematical Reviews, Current Mathematical Publications, Philosopher's
    Index, Repertoire bibliographique de la Philosophie. It also features
    prominently in national databases such as DICE and MIAR.

    THEORIA is a non-profit editorial venture. It is published by the University
    of the Basque Country under a Creative Commons Licence. It is part of the
    Open Journal System (OJS) and all its papers (from 2003 onwards) are freely
    available on-line.
    Current issue:

14 Nov 2011
    Humanities - Open Access Journal

    Humanities is an international, peer-reviewed, quick-refereeing open access
    journal, which publishes works from extensive fields including history, law,
    literature, philosophy, religion, arts, linguistics and so on. There is no
    restriction on the length of the papers as we encourage researchers to
    publish their innovative ideas and results in as much detail as possible. To
    guarantee a rapid refereeing and editorial process, Humanities follows
    standard publication practices in the natural sciences.

    Subject Areas:

    * History
    * Law
    * Literature
    * Philosophy
    * Religion
    * Arts
    * Linguistics
    * Other related areas
    Article processing charges (for authors)

1 Oct 2011
    The Open Philosophy Journal
    The Open Philosophy Journal is an Open Access online journal which publishes
    peer-reviewed articles and guest edited single topic issues addressing all
    aspects of philosophy. Research areas covered by the journal: include
    metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics,
    philosophy of religion, science, psychology, mind, language and law, and
    ancient philosophy. The emphasis will be on publishing quality articles
    rapidly and freely available to researchers worldwide.
    Articles are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons
    Attribution non-commercial License which permits
    unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any
    medium, providing that the work is properly cited.


    Short Articles and Discussion Notes: The publication fee for each
    published Short Articles and Discussion Notes submitted is US $250.

    Research Articles: The publication fee for each published Research
    article is US $300.

    Mini-Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Mini-Review
    article is US $250.

    Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Review article
    is US $350.

29 Sep 2011
    Rationality, Markets and Morals
    Studies at the Intersection of Philosophy and Economics
    An open access journal published by Frankfurt School Verlag

17 Sep 2011:
    Philosophy and Theory in Biology,
    Online open-access peer-reviewed journal that aims to bridge
    philosophy of science and theoretical biology.

    (Alas latex not accepted.)

9 Jul 2011:
    Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy

    Minerva is a refereed electronic journal of philosophy. It is published
    annually and is available on an open-access basis on the Internet. The
    journal publishes articles relating to philosophy construed in a broad but
    scholarly sense, without preference for any particular school or
    intellectual tradition. Each volume will appear in the month of November. As
    an electronic journal, Minerva provides swift publication and distribution,
    while reaction to published articles can be garnered with equal speed. It is
    intended that the journal will foster debate by publishing considered
    replies to certain articles and providing a forum for scholarly discourse.

    Featured articles and all other materials, unless otherwise indicated, are
    the copyright of the Journal, under the terms of the Copyright Act 1963. All
    rights are reserved, but fair and good faith use with full attribution may
    be made of all contents for educational or scholarly purposes.
    Dr. Stephen Thornton
    Head, Department of Philosophy, MIC, University of Limerick, Ireland.

15 Apr 2011:
    International Journal of Genetics and Molecular Biology

    Journal of Cell and Animal Biology

Both committed to free open access, but there's a charge for authors
($550 when I looked -- much lower than some prestigious journals).

From web site:
    Authors may still request (in advance) that the editorial office waive some
    of the handling fee under special circumstances

10 Apr 2011: The Berlin Journal of Philosophy
    The Berlin Journal of Philosophy is a blind-submission, double-blind,
    peer-reviewed, open-access journal that will publish articles on all topics in
    the four traditional major areas of philosophical specialization, namely

        epistemology & metaphysics
        value theory
        history of philosophy

        and their established subspecialities (long list follows).

NOTE: The emphasis on double-blind reviewing prompted me to write some notes on
the advantages of post-publication reviewing, here:

12 Mar 2011: Journal of Interdisciplinary History of Ideas

    A new open-access academic peer-refereed journal, devoted to interdisciplinary
    history of ideas. Interdisciplinary history of ideas focuses on the bonds
    that relate more general historical study in the field, and special fields
    such as the history of philosophy, history of economic thought, history
    of science, history of art, history of law, and so on, that are usually
    severed in research works, though connected in the real course of
    intellectual history.

14 Feb 2011: Praxis (Publisher: University of Manchester)

    Praxis is an online postgraduate journal of philosophy edited by postgraduate
    students at the University of Manchester.

    Our aim is to offer an opportunity for research students, post-doctoral
    scholars and new academics to publish papers and reviews in an international
    peer-reviewed journal, providing special support for those in the beginning
    of their academic career.

13 Jan 2011: Journal of the philosophical-interdisciplinary vanguard
    Our aim is to spread the idea of modern interdisciplinary philosophy,
    sciences and humanities, and to propagate the relations between them and
    art. We are mostly interested in new approaches to human cognition like new
    trends in cognitive science, modern phenomenology, new approaches in
    psychology, enactivism, embodied and situated cognition, extended mind,
    social ontology, sciences of complexity and others. We believe that these
    conceptions are crucial for development of contemporary anthropology and
    should been widely introduced to people interested in complex theories of
    human behaviour.

29 Dec 2010: Journal of Cosmology Astronomy - Astrobiology Earth Sciences - Life

    Open access publishing provides immediate, worldwide, free access to the
    full-text of all published articles. Open access allows scholars, scientists,
    government officials, and the general public to view, download, print, and
    redistribute any article without a subscription. Open access publishing insures a
    far superior means of distribution compared to the traditional subscription-based
    publishing model. Because there are no subscription fees, publication costs are
    paid from an author's research budget, or by their supporting institution, in the
    form of Article Processing and Publication Fees.

    All Processing and Publication Charges Are Waved for Invited Papers. Article
    Processing Fee: The Journal of Cosmology is a Peer Reviewed Open Access journal
    and requires the payment of a $35.00 Article Processing Fee to cover costs for
    processing and managing the peer review process. Manuscripts will not be
    processed until all Processing Fees have been paid.

    All articles are peer reviewed. This $35.00 fee is not refundable if the article
    is rejected.

    Article Publication Fee: If the article is accepted, there is a $150.00
    Publication Charge, that will be billed to and must be paid by the submitting
    author following the acceptance of the article for publication.

    Accepted articles will not be published until the publication fee is received.

13 Dec 2010: What is the LOCKSS Program? LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe)

    LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), based at Stanford University
    Libraries, is an international community initiative that provides libraries
    with digital preservation tools and support so that they can easily and
    inexpensively collect and preserve their own copies of authorized e-content.
    LOCKSS, in its eleventh year, provides libraries with the open-source
    software and support to preserve today's web-published materials for
    tomorrow's readers while building their own collections and acquiring a copy
    of the assets they pay for, instead of simply leasing them. LOCKSS provides
    100% post cancellation access.

    The ACM award-winning LOCKSS technology is an open source, peer-to-peer,
    decentralized digital preservation infrastructure. LOCKSS preserves all
    formats and genres of web-published content. The intellectual content, which
    includes the historical context (the look and feel), is preserved. LOCKSS is
    OAIS-compliant; the software migrates content forward in time; and the bits
    and bytes are continually audited and repaired.

13 Dec 2010: Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP)

    JHAP aims to promote research in and discussion of the history
    of analytical philosophy. 'Analytical' is understood broadly and
    we aim to cover the complete history of analytical philosophy,
    including the most recent one. JHAP takes the history of
    analytical philosophy to be part of analytical philosophy.
    Accordingly, it publishes historical research that interacts
    with the ongoing concerns of analytical philosophy and with the
    history of other twentieth century philosophical traditions. In
    addition to research articles, JHAP publishes discussion notes
    and reviews.

    The Journal is published in the spirit of the open access
    movement. Articles will be freely available in electronic form.

    Published by New Prairie Press
    Open Journal Systems

13 Dec 2010: The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication

3 Dec 2010: HYLE: International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry
    Free access to all papers available
    HYLE combines autonomous scientific quality management (double blind peer
    review) with modern technology of electronic production and distribution. We
    are committed to the policy of the Budapest Open Access Initiative and,
    thus, avoid obsolete, costly, time-consuming, and heteronomous procedures of
    traditional commercial publishers. This enables an up-to-date forum for
    discussion in the young field of the philosophy of chemistry and brings the
    international community together, without discriminating scholars from
    financially less developed countries.

17 Nov 2010: International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems (IJAE)
    Publisher: Computer Science Journals
    Open Access, but authors pay USD$160 publication fee.

8 Nov 2010: Journal of Logic and Analysis
    [No author charges. No reader charges.]
    This journal examines the interaction between ideas or techniques from
    mathematical logic and other areas of mathematics, especially, but not
    limited to, pure and applied analysis. Journal of Logic and Analysis
    publishes papers in nonstandard analysis and related areas of applied model
    theory; papers involving interplay between mathematics and logic (including
    foundational aspects of such interplay); and mathematical papers using or
    developing analytical methods having connections to any area of mathematical

3 Nov 2010: Yet another web site about open access in academic disciplines
    The platform aims to meet the growing demand for information
    on the subject of Open Access (OA). Our editorial team gathers information
    which is scattered across many sources and bundles it thematically for
    presentation to various target groups.

25 Oct 2010: MIT Faculty Open Access Policy
    Policy adopted by unanimous vote of the faculty on 3/18/2009:
    (Thanks to Rosalind Picard for information about this.)

3 Oct 2010:
     SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #150
        October 2, 2010 by Peter Suber
    "Self-archiving diary
      I have a confession to make.  For as long as I've urged scholars to
      support OA, I've urged them to self-archive.  But I wasn't
      systematic about doing it myself until last year.
      Note to repository managers:  Supporting PDF alongside other formats like
      HTML and XML is a feature; supporting PDF-only is a bug.
    (There's lots more. Well worth reading.
    Personal comment by A.S.: My own work straddles disciplines and topics in ways that
    make it hard for me to use repositories designed by others. Also I don't
    believe in 'archival' publishing. There should always be opportunities for
    authors to update their works if they can improve them (as composers have
    been doing for centuries. The vast majority of what is published is of
    little or no value and will hardly ever be read. So the cost of elaborate
    permanent archiving mechanisms is not justified. Simple permanent archiving
    allowing edits (perhaps with histories of edits) should suffice
    for the vast majority of publications.)

3 Oct 2010:
    The purpose of is to ensure that all academics worldwide can
    share in the benefits of making their research output Open Access. For those
    whose universities and organisations have an online repository, makes them easy to find. For those without a local repository,
    including unaffiliated researchers, the OpenDepot is a place of deposit,
    available for others to harvest.

    We have tried to make easy or researchers and authors to use.
    (Hosted by Edina: University of Edinburgh)

29 Sep 2010: International Journal of Artificial Intelligence & Applications (IJAIA)
    Open Access, but $120 author charge, up to 20 pages.

26 Sep 2010: Open Journal Systems
    A sample of the "over 6600" journals using OJS

    "Scholars need the means to launch a new generation of journals
    committed to open access, and to help existing journals that elect
    to make the transition to open access..."
    Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002

    Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system
    that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its
    federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS
    assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from
    submissions through to online publication and indexing. Through its
    management systems, its finely grained indexing of research, and the context
    it provides for research, OJS seeks to improve both the scholarly and public
    quality of refereed research.

    OJS is open source software made freely available to journals worldwide for
    the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more
    journals, as open access can increase a journal's readership as well as its
    contribution to the public good on a global scale (see PKP Publications).

    (See also Directory of Open Access Journals, below)

26 Sep 2010:
From the web page
    "Making scholarly work available without charge on the internet
    has offered hope for the natural sciences and now offers hope in the
        Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University

    Open Humanities Press is an international open access publishing
    collective in critical and cultural theory.

    Open Humanities Press journals are fully peer reviewed, scholarly
    publications that have been chosen by OHP's editorial advisory board
    for their outstanding contribution to contemporary theory. OHP's
    journals are independent, published under open access licences and
    free of charge to readers and authors alike.

    Journals include:
    * Cosmos and History
    * Culture Machine
    * Fast Capitalism
    * Fibreculture
    * Film-Philosophy
    * Filozofski vestnik
    * Image and Narrative
    * International Journal of Zizek Studies
    * Parrhesia
    * Postcolonial Text
    * Vectors
26 Sep 2010:
    Speculations  is a journal of speculative realism that hopes to
    provide a forum for the exploration of speculative realism and
    post-continental philosophy. Our aim is to facilitate discussion
    about ongoing developments within speculative realism. The journal
    is open access and peer-reviewed. We accept short position papers,
    full length articles and book reviews.

    Inquiries and submissions can be sent to
26 Sep 2010:
    Thinking Nature
    This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the
    principle that making research freely available to the public
    supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

22 Sep 2010:
The full back archive for NeuroQuantology (from 2003 to 2010) is now FREE. (Registration needed.)
21 Sep 2010: Omics Publishing Group
   Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology
   Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability
   Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals
   Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine
   Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy
   Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology
   Other Omics Journals
21 Sep 2010: Kant Studies Online
23 Aug 2010: Insciences Open Access Journal
18 Aug 2010 (Updated 1 Mar 2011)
The Directory of Open-Access Journals -- -- includes:
    Agriculture and Food Sciences            Languages and Literatures
    Arts and Architecture                    Law and Political Science
    Biology and Life Sciences                Mathematics and Statistics
    Business and Economics                   Philosophy and Religion
    Chemistry                                Physics and Astronomy
    Earth and Environmental Sciences         Science General
    General Works                            Social Sciences
    Health Sciences                          Technology and Engineering
    History and Archaeology
Covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. Aims to cover all subjects and languages.
Message posted 1 Mar 2011 claims:
    There are now 6208 journals in the directory. Currently 2652 journals are
    searchable at article level. As of today 514357 articles are included in
    the DOAJ service.
3 Dec 2009:
This statement by the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan is very relevant:;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0009.102

Message sent to some discussion lists for computing and philosophy

From Aaron Sloman Wed Aug 12 15:46:41 BST 2009
Subject: Don't review for subscription-only journals

I have just received another of those 'please will you review'
requests from a journal whose accepted papers are available only to
people (or organisations) who pay a subscription.

I think that from now on I should agree to review ONLY on condition
that if the paper is accepted it will be made freely available to
everyone in the world.

I don't see why my work, or the work of researchers paid for by
tax-payers in any country should be available only to people who
contribute to the profits of publishers.

Is there any reason why all academics shouldn't start doing this?

In any case, people whose papers are accessible only to subscribers
will not be read by people in other disciplines who may be
interested, or students, intelligent lay people,etc., so they are
losing opportunities to communicate (or get feedback).

There are new journals that make all their articles freely available
and charge authors only a small amount, or nothing. We should all
submit papers ONLY to those.



    It is hard for younger researchers to act on this if they know that job
    selection panels and promotion panels still use the quality of journals (as
    measured by impact factors) as a basis for assessing individuals.

    This is highly immoral: as immoral as assessing people on the basis of where
    they were born, where they studied, the colour of their skin, etc. It should
    be made illegal and assessment should be based only on the quality of the
    work as assessed by experts.

    Counting publications in high impact journals instead of reading research
    reports is an intellectually lazy way to do selection.

Another point (30 Nov 2009):

    Highly rated journals tend to have much longer publication queues than the
    newer open-access journals that don't get so many submissions.

    So for young researchers wanting (a) to get their papers published and (b)
    wanting their papers to be read it may be that avoidance of delay may be far
    more important than being visible in a highly rated place.

    Remember many people search for things to read on the basis of their
    content, not where they are published. Several of my informally published
    web pages come up higher than articles on similar topics in prestigious
    journals -- possibly because far fewer people can read and link to those

    When I post things on they seem to be read
    by more people people more quickly than anything I publish in other places.

    (Of course, that is not even refereed.)

    I suspect that academe may move toward relying far more on post-publication
    reviewing than on pre-publication reviewing, especially as the latter is
    known to be full of biases and anomalies, as shown by experiments submitting
    the same paper with different names and addresses for authors. Blind
    reviewing cannot eliminate all reviewer prejudices. Even world-leading
    experts can make serious errors of judgment.


    (Added 17 Aug 2010)

    Two consequences of research output going into journals that require
    subscriptions are (a) that researchers tend to be limited in what they read
    since they tend to subscribe to a small subset of the journals whose
    contents are potentially relevant to their research and (b) that each
    publication tends to be read by a restricted set of researchers for the same

    This in effect means that there is often inadequate cross-disciplinary
    communication between researchers with overlapping interests leading to
    duplicated research effort time wasted because relevant knowledge is not
    available when someone is working on a problem and inadequate teaching,
    because teachers fail to inform their students of some of the important
    relevant knowledge. I see effects of this often when interviewing job
    candidates: they have been trained to focus their research vision in such a
    narrow way that they really don't understand the problems they are working
    because they are ignorant of aspects other researchers have already


In October 2009 someone wrote to one of those discussion lists pointing out that
their university librarian reported that libraries are moving more and more
towards open access journals given that they remain peer-reviewed but free. He
wondered if there is any sense that such works are of 'lesser quality' because
they are free AND how such journals can survive without charging

This provoked the following response (from me):

    It looks as if you did not get the answer sent to the list in response to
    your earlier posting of this question. I copy it below. I agree with the
    sentiments expressed and have seen open access journals in other disciplines
    that are thriving, e.g.

    among others.

The doubts being raised about quality are, I suspect, mainly stirred up by those
with an interest in preserving the older journals (the companies that publish
them, their editors, etc.)

The main obstacle to growth of open access journals is an attitude that
individuals and departments should be judged not by the quality of their work
but by where they publish their papers. This helps to preserve the near monopoly
of the expensive journals. Fortunately in philosophy many of the journals are
available at low cost. But the fact that articles are not freely available stops
non-subscribers all round the world gaining access.

Do philosophers want their work to be read ONLY by professional philosophers,
and do they want to learn only from criticisms by professional philosophers? I
hope not.

Regarding ads or sponsorship: the best way to answer that is to look at the
journals that try either or both. A lot will depend on how they do it. If ads
are too obtrusive people will use other journals.



Here is some other information posted on discussion lists.

A new OpenAccess journal
LOGOS - Freie Zeitschrift fuer wissenschaftliche Philosophie

They use the open journal system for the website, LaTeX for the
formatting of the PDF files, and tex4ht for transforming
TeX files to XHTML.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason why an open-access journal should be of
lesser quality than one with limited access.

A good introduction to open access:

More information:

A discussion about OA in philosophy:

An open access web site with lots of information about philosophy
and philosophers:

(Apparently does not yet use the OAI protocol for metadata harvesting,
therefore, despite all its merits, not yet suitable for uploading articles.)


At one time people were strongly in favour of using journals with large lists of
subscribers because that was the only way to be read by many people. That has
been changed completely by the internet: if your paper is freely available and
is discovered by search engines, or recommended by other academics it could end
up being read by far more people around the world than if it were available only
to subscribers to any particular journal. (Most subscribers do not have time to
read everything in all the journals they subscribe to, anyway.)


The savings in costs to universities and other educational and research
institutions could be enormous, thereby probably more than re-couping the extra
costs of supporting the archives, which would otherwise include a contribution
to shareholders' profits.

   Update: 5 Dec 2009
   Here is an example of a government funded open-access collection of
   journals I have just come across
   Portal of scientific journals of Croatia


For me one of the serious disadvantages of normal journal publications is that
items are frozen. Nothing I write is finished: I like being able to make
corrections additions, improved wording, etc. If a composer can do it to a
symphony or string quartet, why shouldn't a researcher do it to research
reports/discussions, etc.

I do not know of any journals that accept updates of previously published
papers, whereas many open-access self-archiving repositories do. I suspect it is
just a matter of time before the practice spreads, since the use of the internet
has enormously reduced the cost compared with replacing paper versions.


Some links

Maintained by Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham