Interview with Bob Howard, Vice President, US Journals SAGE
Today SAGE announced that the price of publication in SAGE Open, the leading broad-based gold open access journal for the social sciences, has been discounted to $99 per article. SAGE Open, now recognised with an APEX award for excellence, was launched in May 2011.
Bob Howard, Vice President US Journals at SAGE, joins the SAGE Connection team to tell us more about the announcement.
Why has SAGE decided to discount the price of SAGE Open?
Our founder, Sara Miller McCune, believes passionately in the social sciences, a vision that permeates SAGE today. We continue to champion social science research, and ensuring that scholars within the humanities and social science sector (HSS) are able to publish their research is central to our publishing vision. Our decision to discount the price of SAGE Open to $99 has been made to better support OA publishing in HSS at this early stage of adoption, by making high quality, peer reviewed open access publishing a more accessible option for researchers.
We view this change as an investment in the future of OA publishing in the social sciences, and we will continue to adapt to our evolving landscape in order to better support HSS scholars.
Why has this decision been taken now?
While we expect much of social science research to continue to be published in traditional subscription journals, and that remains SAGE’s core business, open access publishing and the demand for it is increasing. The publication of the Finch report and the RCUK policy shift has meant that scholars are increasingly being required by their institutions or funders to make research immediately available. This is difficult for researchers in the HSS sector who have little or no direct funding. We recently conducted an author survey which indicated that more that 70% of accepted authors had personally paid the article processing charge (APC) to enable their research to be published in SAGE Open. Author declarations further showed that less than 15% of all articles published across SAGE’s Humanities and Social Sciences portfolio in 2012 had allocated funding. The discounted price therefore supports these researchers, ensuring that they are able to publish their research OA.
Will this change affect the type of research published?
SAGE is committed to the publication of high quality, peer reviewed research, and this will not be compromised by a change in price. All SAGE Open articles will receive the same high quality peer review, copy editing, typesetting and electronic delivery that have been present since the journal launched in 2011, maintaining the quality you would expect of SAGE as a leading independent publisher for the social sciences.
How is SAGE working with its Society partners on OA?
Our primary goal at the moment is to make sure that they know what’s happening in the industry and discuss publishing options with them. Different societies have different OA needs and for some promoting SAGE Choice to their authors is the best option for now. For others, launching new OA journals makes the most sense. The publishing landscape is certainly under pressure from some governments and some parts of the research community, and it’s important that our society partners have the most current information so they can make informed decisions.
What else can we expect from SAGE and OA publishing?
As the OA landscape develops we will continue to navigate these changes with our society and publishing partners, adapting accordingly to ensure that their developing needs are supported.
Last year we launched three further broad based journals: SAGE Open Engineering, SAGE Open Medicine and SAGE Open Medical Case Reports, and we continue to work with our society and publishing partners to better understand how an open access model of publishing might work for them, helping them either launch experiments or consider how to transition subscription journals to OA.
We also continue to support a number of partners, including the Academy of Social Sciences, supporting and holding events to facilitate and support debate around policy changes within the social science community.
We recognize the intrinsic value of our traditionally-published journals, but we are also part of a changing scholarly community. We are committed to supporting our publishing partners through these changes, and as an independent publisher we are able to take more risks in order to support our community effectively, taking a long-term view on these developments.
For further information on SAGE and Open Access, please see here.
Make sure you keep an eye on SAGE Connection for further news, debate and discussion as the OA debate continues to take shape.