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American Institute of Physics Announces "AIP Author Select" - A New Open Access Initiative for 2005

:: As posted to PAMNET on 15 November 2004

:MELVILLE, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 15, 2004 - The American Institute of Physics announced today that it will offer on a trial basis an open-access publishing option to authors contributing to three AIP journals: Journal of Mathematical Physics, Review of Scientific Instruments, and Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science. The initiative has been named "AIP Author Select."

Of the eleven journals published or co-published by AIP, these three titles were chosen for this experiment because they are important, high-impact journals that impose no page charges (other than a standard AIP charge for articles of excessive length). "This gives us a cleaner slate on which to judge whether the open-access model of up-front payment can provide suitable financial support for publishing in the physical sciences," said AIP's publisher, Dr. Thomas von
Foerster.

Beginning on January 1, 2005, JMP, RSI, and Chaos will permit authors (or their funding agencies) to pay a $2000 fee prior to publication, for articles that will be freely available to anyone on the Web. Such articles will be highlighted by an icon in the Table of Contents, in both print and online issues, to indicate the articles' "toll-free" availability online. During the peer-review process editors and referees will not be aware of whether an author has selected the open-access option. "The editors and their reliance on peer-review are the
only things that determine acceptability for publication," according to von Foerster.

AIP is familiar with the reactions among publishers and librarians to other models and experiments in open-access publishing. "In the so-called 'author-paid' model, some critics have focused on the amount of the author fee, but that's something that will best be determined in the marketplace," said Dr. Marc H. Brodsky, AIP executive director and CEO. "While it is not set unrealistically low, the AIP fee may well be adjusted over time based on author reaction and what we learn about the economics of free-to-the-user, article-level publishing. The main goals of this experiment are, first, to see if the idea of Open Access has any traction in the physical science community and, second, to see whether prepublication article payments produce enough
revenue to allow us to hold down, reduce, or, ideally, eliminate library subscription prices." While the AIP Author Select experiment will have no effect on subscription rates for 2005, AIP plans to reduce future online subscription prices proportionately to the percent of open-access articles published. If a quarter of the articles published in a given year are open access, then a future year's online subscription will cost 25% less than what it would cost
otherwise.

AIP is already considered a "green" publisher, in that it allows authors to post e-prints to their personal or institutional websites. At the same time, Brodsky has been highly critical of some claims made by Open Access enthusiasts with respect to the desirability and economics of some forms of this new model. As the current chair of the executive council of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers, Brodsky has also been vocal in opposition to government-mandated publishing models.

Nonetheless, "we have no problem with Open Access per se," said Brodsky. "Our interest is in supporting and maintaining the scientific record over time, which the subscription model has done remarkably well, at least until recently, when the growing amount of published research has collided with the diminishing ability of our best libraries to acquire that research."

"As publishers, we have engaged in the debates over Open Access with librarians, government officials, and well-funded publisher-enthusiasts," said von Foerster. "Now it's time to let our authors join the debate and decide for themselves." If the trial of AIP Author Select is successful - meaning that a significant fraction of authors choose this option - then AIP plans to expand it to other journals.

THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS is a not-for-profit corporation chartered in the 1930's to provide publishing services to scientific societies. Today, in addition to composition, printing, fulfillment, marketing, and other services, AIP fills its mandate by operating Scitation, the online home of more than 100 leading journals published by fifteen societies, including the American Physical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and, beginning in 2005, the Institution of Electrical Engineers in the U.K. AIP also publishes Journal of Applied Physics, Applied Physics Letters, Physics of Plasmas, Physics of Fluids, and Journal of Chemical Physics, all of which are among the highest-impact journals in their fields.

For further information, please contact:

Thomas von Foerster
Publisher, American Institute of Physics
Two Huntington Quadrangle, Suite 1NO1
Melville, New York 11747-4502
Phone: 1-516-576-2406
Fax: 1-516-576-2450
Email: jrnlpub AT aip.org

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