Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Now for the biggy – open access journals


Unlike conventional subscription journals, open access journals work on the business model that does not rely on paywalls! Conventional journals offer open access options and hence are moving into a hybrid model where with paying an APC your article can be open access while others are behind the paywall! Of course, as I pointed out earlier, most academics do not realize a paywall exists unless they are carrying out literature searches away from the campus without signing into their campus connection first!

At present it is hard to find a viable open access journal in accounting that is not focused on country specific content. While this development has helped many of our colleagues in developing economies, it has not made a real dent in the overall business model of the publishing industry as it relates to accounting. Indeed, when I last checked the Directory of Open Access Journals there were only nineteen that included accounting in their title and three with auditing.

So what does an open access journal look like? The granddaddy of them all is PLOS One ( I first came across this journal a few years ago as it hosted many articles on replication research. It seems the open access folks were early on this issue!

The economic model is simple. Peer review for internal validity only, NO judgments about degree of incremental contribution, novelty etc. Article Processing Charge of $1595 that includes what appears to be good to excellent copy editing and other back of house activities. the reasons the PLOS APC is low compared to open access charges in hybrid conventional journals include: PLOS is a not for profit publisher, it only does on line publishing, it covers an incredible breathe of areas, no need to invest in paywall technology as PLOS only does open access, internal validity is only substantive publishing criteria acceptance requirement thus acceptance rates of 35 to 50% are reported.

mind you PLOS has developed a suite of higher status niche journals where novelty and incremental contribution are more the focus! In these journals the APC begins to approach the $3000 level of conventional journals that offer open access!

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