Crossing the Rubicon, Open Access, and Careers

Posted on June 18, 2011


Recently, I presented a paper at a conference and the hosts of the conference were looking to publish all of the papers in a special issue of a journal. Well the hosts managed to get a pretty “prestiges” journal to accept the papers as bulk publication, passing peer review of course.

The problem was that this journal (I am still debating if I should name the journal or not), published by Springer, costs a ridicules amount of money to subscribe to and does not make its issues open access. They of course will make an individual article open access for a fee of $3000. Not having $3000 in all likelihood my article would be stuck behind a paywall.

Needless to say I turned down the chance to publish and of course created a bit of a conundrum. Now that I have turned down one publishing opportunity, because it was not open access, do I turn down every other chance that is not open access? Well, at this point I have pretty much crossed the Rubicon and don’t think I can go back.

I guess I have now committed to open access but what will that do to my career? Everyone talks about the need to publish in “prestige” journals, which are almost always not open access. I am of the mind that good research is good research regardless of where it is published. I also have faith that people will recognize good work regardless of the venue. Naive maybe, but I guess I will find out one way or the other.

It will be a few years before I know if going only open access ruins my career but I will let you all know if it does happen.