Home > Academic publishing, Open Access > Open Access publishing for agricultural sciences

Open Access publishing for agricultural sciences

OpenAccess_LogoPublishing open access should become the gold standard for international agricultural research for development.

The fact that most funding comes from public sources of charity organizations makes hiding research results behind paywalls difficult to defend. Also is it a stated goal of many research organizations, e.g., CGIAR, to provide global public goods and make research results openly available. Last but not least, it should be inherent to each researcher’s ethics to make research results freely accessible.

However, open access publishing is a relatively new and very dynamic field. Large numbers of open access publishers and journals are popping up. While some publishers are serious in providing outlets for high quality research, others try to exploit open access publishing through dubious business practices. Predatory publishers accept and publish articles without adequate quality control (e.g., peer review) only to charge author fees. The downside of this phenomenon is that the quality of published research output becomes difficult to judge. Moreover, a list of publications in journal of dubious quality may affect the scientific reputation of individual researchers and entire research organizations alike.

In this context, the identification of serious journals may at times be difficult – many of them are new and still have to build their reputation – but nonetheless necessary. Efforts like Beall’s List of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers and journals can help to avoid low quality publications. However, they are of little help when one is looking for an open access outlet for research in the field of agricultural sciences.

Asking colleagues for their recommendations may offer a way out. Indeed, when discussing the issue at CIP, researchers came up with a list of the publishers and journals they have made good experiences with:

Plos One is perceived as a Golden Open Source with a rigorous and fast publishing process.
The BMC series (Genomics, Genetics, Biology and many more) is considered to have a fast peer review process and a good reputation.
– The Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development (JARTS) publishes with serious peer review.

This list is still rather short, but can offer an entry point into the world of open access publishing in agricultural sciences.

What has been your experience so far? Do you know any other publishers and journals from agricultural sciences you have made good or bad experiences with? Any suggestions and comments are highly welcome.

P.S. Just during the time this blog post was written, Science Magazine published an article titled “Who is afraid of peer review”. Although it has also been criticized, mainly for methodological reasons, the article captures well the principal motivation that’s behind this post.

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  1. Ulrich K.
    05/12/2013 at 11:24 am

    Upon recommendation of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) I just learned about The Review of Agricultural and Applied Economics http://roaae.org/.

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