University Library supports innovative journal

The University Library (UB) is setting aside funds to support the innovative journal PeerJ. The library will pay the expenses when an article from a RUG scholar is accepted.

What is unusual about the open access journal is that the processing costs are not calculated per article, but per author. Once a researcher becomes a member, they can publish articles their whole life. ‘It is an interesting initiative’, says Peter van Laarhoven from the UB. ‘We want to see if people go for it.’

Van Laarhoven actually wanted to set aside money in order to encourage scholars to register at PeerJ last year – the UB often supports innovative publishing initiatives in this way – but the idea was rejected at the time. Now that it has a high impact factor (Q1) and will be indexed in the Web of Science, the plan has been picked up once more.

Must be a member

The UB will pay for the expenses of the first 36 RUG authors. But the funds can dry up quickly, admits Van Laarhoven. ‘In the event that an article has numerous authors, they must all be members’, he says. ‘The journal focuses on the biomedical sciences area, and often these articles have eight or nine authors.’

Even then, the expenses are limited. Standard journals often ask for hundreds or thousands of euros for ‘article processing charges’. In that case, even nine times the price of a standard membership, which costs just 99 euros, would be peanuts. ‘If the funds dry up, we will just have to dig deeper into our pockets’, says Van Laarhoven. ‘Bruin can take that. We just want to draw attention to the journal.’