International Journal of Solids and Structures (IJSS) will be freely accessible
At a meeting of the Editorial Board of IJSS, on Sunday, 3 June 2007, in Austin, Texas, the representatives from Elsevier, the publisher of IJSS, told the members of the Board that all articles published in IJSS will be freely accessible 24 months after publication. The first of these articles will become available in October 2007. That is, all IJSS articles published after October 2005 will become freely accessible after a delay of 24 months.
All articles published in IJSS, dating back to Volume 1 in 1965, are available as part of the engineering backfile package. This package is a one-off purchase with no annual fee.
The processing of the manuscripts at IJSS is accelerating. The average time from submission to acceptance is 26 weeks. An accepted manuscript, as prepared by the authors, is available online within 5 working days, in the section of Article in Press.
The article online is also given a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). The DOI establishes a permanent link, which will not break when the author-generated copy is replaced with the publisher-generated copy. Thus, the article can be cited immediately. Here is an example:
J.-H. Kim and J.J. Vlassak, Perturbation analysis of an undulating free surface in a multi-layered structure, International Journal of Solids and Structures, doi:10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2007.05.025.
This time-delayed open access, I believe, at least provides a temporary relief of a tremendous tension between the traditional model of publishing and the potential of the Internet. This tension may be released gradually, by adjustments of multiple players in the journal publishing business (writers, readers, editors, publishers, libraries, funding agencies...)
Open access is likely the future mode of publishing. The question is how we get there. Open access publishing will still cost money. A common model is that authors pay to get a paper published. Here are some price tags:
In many ways, this model of publishing looks similar to that of advertising, with authors acting like advertisers, and publishers acting like advertising agencies. Should funding agencies insist that all papers openly accessible? Should libraries get out of the journal publishing business. Should universities lower the overhead rate and enable authors to pay publishers directly?
Regardless these future possibilities, Elsevier has listed many rights retained by the authors. Among them is the right to post a pre-print version of a journal article on the Internet. Incidentally, this right is granted by most publishers. Thus, if you would like a paper of yours openly accessible, all you need to do is to post a pre-print on iMechanica or other websites.