A world-renowned Cambridge mathematician and a team of colleagues say they are taking on for-profit academic journal publishers with the launch of Discrete Analysis, an open access journal.
The peer-reviewed journal launched by Timothy Gowers is claimed to mark a 'new era' in academic journal publishing. Discrete Analysis will follow the 'diamond open access' model – free to read and free to publish in – and will be editor-owned.
Gowers says he believes journals should be able to be open access without being held to publisher subscription requirements or article submission fees.
He said: 'Unfortunately, many traditional academic journals – often filled with research derived from public tax dollars – are controlled by commercial publishers. Before the Internet, this made sense, as they had printing presses, distribution networks and the like. But today, this is an anachronism that has to stop."
Gowers says he hopes Discrete Analysis will serve as a powerful step away from monopolistic publisher control, putting ownership of journals back in the hands of their editorial boards – as well as serving as a model for digital-only publishing. Discrete Analysis will publish each of its articles on a rolling basis, instead of in monthly, quarterly or annual journal issues, in order to bring groundbreaking research to light faster.
'If you have journal issues you're implicitly admitting the old way of doing print was the right way, and what you end up with is a pale shadow of a proper print journal,' said Gowers. 'We don't want to be that. We want to be aggressively modern and use the internet properly. We're not pretending to be a traditional journal, we're something else.'
Discrete Analysis will be able to publish open access as a result of its partnership with Scholastica, an online journal platform that features an integrated suite of peer review and publishing tools.
Scholastica co-founder Brian Cody said: 'Discrete Analysis is a perfect example of why we exist. Scholastica makes managing peer review and journal publishing incredibly cost-effective and easy for busy academics.
'Commercial publishers are expensive in a way that's generally harmful to academic institutions. We need to rectify this.'