Adventures in publishing

A new open access journal, Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, has, well, opened. It’s published at Queen’s College in Canada.

“So?” you ask, “there are lots of journals up starting all the time”.

This one is different. It’s experimenting with a lot of things (ok, so there seem to be a lot of journals experimenting with the model lately). The subject matter is not research per se, but ideas. Having been to my share of ecology and evolution conferences and discussion, I can see this journal has opened itself up to some quite lovely discussions.

As explained by Bob O’hara, there are some interesting review process experiments going on here too. Authors pay to get their ideas published, reviewers are paid, reviewers are not anonymous and they get to publish their views of the article as a companion piece. Bob discusses the issues we’ve all heard about the pros of anonymity (and they are valid ones), but this might work in this case. I also agree with Bob on one point, this structure (reviewers publishing their views) will indeed increase discussion, but I’d too like to see some mechanism for a broader discussion. As it is designed now, it will be like watching TV pundits arguing the finer points of health policy, which I guess is informative, but I’d like to see some mechanism that allows a broader discussion of the article. Something like PLoS has, which I think would actually work better in a journal of ideas like this.

Well, we’ll see. Right now there is nothing there but the editorial. I’ll be watching though.

hat tip: Coturnix