For the past six months or so, I have been working on the launch of a new Open Access journal Cogent Geoscience. My first thought when I was asked if I would be interested in leading this project was “another journal … really ?” but I did spend some time to discuss the whole idea with the staff at Taylor & Francis and my friends and colleagues, and I thought that there might indeed be an opportunity to do something new.
The publishing landscape has shifted significantly over the past decade or so. The availability of publication-quality preprints (e.g. www.arxiv.org and datasets on the web has forced the peer-review publication process to become significantly more responsive. Academic social-media sites like academia.edu, researchgate and figshare have created a grey-market in scientific results which have not been formally peer reviewed but which are available for discussion and comment. Traditional journals are rapidly evolving to compete in this environment and it is not entirely clear what the outcome will be !
Cogent Geoscience is emerging into this uncertain environment with very little baggage from the previous era, but also very little momentum. What do we have to offer authors of high-impact research ? For one thing, the entire Cogent series is Open Access which means that all content is available for redistribution and re-publication under a creative commons licence. This is very much in keeping with the way people tend to use information - sharing and commenting, distributing and linking. Open Access is increasingly required for research supported by public funds.
Open Access has, in the past, tended to be an expensive option for authors but we are now offering a different approach which allows authors to contribute whatever they consider reasonable towards the cost of publication. Specifically:
every author will have the option to make a contribution towards the costs of open access publication if their article is accepted, but no one will have the obligation to pay anything. Authors will be free to choose exactly how much they wish to contribute based on their own specific circumstances, and their choice will be accepted on a ‘no questions asked’ basis
I also hope that we can add to this platform an editorial enthusiasm for the discipline which will provide a platform to highlight the best and most exciting research in the field, relevant commentary, and links to re-use of our material. In other words, a great place to learn about the latest developments in the geosciences in the very broadest sense.
[Edited Sept 9, 2015] Added the video interview from EGU 2015