Quite a buzz broke out in the medical librarian community that subscribes to the MEDLIB-L mailing list when it was observed that Amy Bishop Ph.D., the University of Alabama in Huntsville researcher being held for murder and attempted murder of her former faculty colleagues, had co-authored a research article in the International Journal of General Medicine with her children (even though the publisher, Dove Press, has removed the article from the Journal’s web site, we can still see the Google HTML version, at least until the google purge cycle catches up.)
After a variety comments and speculative hypotheses about either the liabilities of co-authoring articles with children or the quality of the Journal, one of the Dove Press staff members provided some clarifying responses to the mailing list, concerning the editorial and peer review standards in place, as well as their commitment to open access and their 76 open access journals currently accepting articles. There was nothing wrong with this response, and it all could be verified on their web site.
I was still curious about the Dove Press history of publishing in open access, since until now they were not represented as an open access publisher on this blog. How did an open access publisher with 76 journal titles slip under my OA radar? I decided to go to my history of web sites, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and see how far back they existed in recorded history.
So I go to a November 2004 view of the Dove Press website, and I find a few journals and subscription information for librarians…and nothing about open access. Same for 2005, 2006, 2007….. and 2008. Now the Wayback Machine does generally lag behind, and nothing from 2009 was available yet.
Now, the flavor of open access for Dove Press is golden, with a standard author fee of $1679 US.
So if every month 76 journals accepted one article, the basic monthly revenue stream would be about $130,000. 76 articles a month is probably a conservative estimate, considering that some fields would get many more submissions per month, and the only thing slowing the revenue flow would be need to perform peer review. Indeed, the International Journal of General Medicine that Amy Bishop chose did not exist in November of 2008, so it must have launched with the 66 other new journals in 2009 in the open access, author fee era for Dove Press. As of today there have been 61 articles published in the International Journal of General Medicine in just over a year, generating over $100,00o in revenue for the publisher with only a small portion of traditional cost centers in the all-electronic publishing enterprise. A smart business decision, apparently.
BioMed Central (BMC) was one of the original gold open access publishing houses (whose author fee recently averaged over $2000 per article), and it seems the model has attracted an imitator in Dove Press, with one important distinction. BMC made a point of requiring all of its journals qualify for PubMedCentral archiving and pubmed indexing prior to launching a new journal, understanding the importance of PubMed indexing as a status and access prerequisite. I also noticed that in the rush to role out 66 new journal titles in a single year, Dove Press is encountering the reality of a cumbersome PubMed Central deposit qualification. They are [excuse the pun] banking on the alternative open access literature indexing platforms, as well as google indexing, for article discovery.
Given a seemingly smooth and economically favorable conversion to open access publishing for Dove Press, we may see this conversion-to-open-access model take hold in other small publishing houses..followed by a rapid expansion of new titles and opportunities for new editors and authors.