Gold Open Access starts at the AMS

The AMS has announced that their two Gold Open Access journals have started accepting papers on september 1, 2013: the Proc.AMS(series B) and Trans.AMS(series B) journals.

So, since they already had Green Open Access for all their previous journals, I’m really curious to see how it pans out.

The APC for a paper in Proc.AMS(B) are $750 per paper in 2014, and $1500 after that. For Trans.AMS(B) it is $1,400 at discount rate, and then $2,750 from 2015 onwards.

As I understand it, the differences are:

Characteristics Green Gold
Electronic version available to subscribers only. But two important tweaks: (a) archives of issues older than 6 years are free to all, (b) final preprint versions posted on the arXiv or personal homepage are allowed (so just page or theorem numbers might differ in the published version). available to all on the journal website permanently under CC licence
costs to readers’ university Proc.AMS (electronic only) costs $1,083 per year to institutional members (2014 rate) nothing
costs to authors’ university nothing Each Proc.AMS(B) paper costs $750 (2014 rate with 50% discount)
publication delay after acceptance about 1 year and 2 months (13 issues of backlog as of august 31) none

So basically, on purely economic terms, Green beats Gold straightforwardly.

But maybe a PhD student or postdoc who prefers to have on a CV a final publication reference rather than something ‘to appear in’ may want to go for Gold. That’s about the only reason I can think of. What remains to be seen is whether or not this would start a vicious cycle of some sort (not sure what, if any).

Edit: come to think of it, the vicious cycle might be “so you see, people want to publish this way, so we’ve decided to phase out paper journals and green OA entirely”.


2 Responses to “Gold Open Access starts at the AMS”

  1. Bobito Says:

    My university (in Spain) doesn’t subscribe to AMS journals. So this represents a net increase in costs for us.

    • Thomas Sauvaget Says:

      Yes, thanks for mentioning this. It’s another worrying aspect of this Gold Open Access, and I must say I didn’t expect academic societies to go along that path.

      This will create a nasty competition for ressources betweeen colleagues from a same department, a very unethical pressure (unless everybody in the department agrees to boycott those journals — there is already some competition for ressourses such as buying books and journal subscriptions, but GOA is far worse).

      Apparently the same editorial boards have been chosen for the Series B journals as for the initial journals, so maybe we will hear about some resignations in the coming weeks and months.

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