Web site contribution
Questions about the development of open access journals which charge authors
open access journals, Article Processing Charges (APC), ethic, scientific community
Two colleagues from British and German universities have recently invited me to become associate editor for a newly created section of Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, the academic journal they are involved in as scientific editors. I am greatly honoured of this invitation to contribute to the development of a subfield of research in which I have been involved for several years. I trust and respect greatly these colleagues and I have no doubt their work is a guarantee of high scientific standards and integrity in the peer reviewing process . I know the European Union, as well as the French scientific funding agencies such as the French Agence nationale de la recherche or the CNRS, support the publication in open access journals. This policy, known as Plan S, was launched in 2018. Personally, I am also convinced that open access journals bring huge visibility and easier access to research. Nevertheless, I think that the Article Processing Charges (APC) mechanism raises several ethical and political issues. Therefore, I am uncomfortable to encourage publication in APC-led journals, and I fear I have to, at least temporarily, decline my two colleagues’ invitation. I wrote this text in order to highlight this new trend and stir a collective discussion among my scientific community at Sciences Po, among the French academia and beyond (which is why I wrote it in English).