In a press release earlier this morning, Gillian MacDonald, spokeswoman for the American Chemical Society, announced that the organization would be introducing a new "experimental" journal, tentatively named ACS Open Access Letters. The release also revealed that the proposed journal would be "grass-fed, certified organic, and fair-trade sourced."
"The American Chemical Society is dedicated to the ideals of open access research," began MacDonald, "and additionally, we wish to demonstrate commitment to sustainable journal publishing practices."
MacDonald continued, "In our new journal model, authors will pay a nominal fee to ensure that their research is freely available to all, forever, and that the journals are given adequate open pastures to roam in, natural grass to eat, and that editors are paid a fair living wage for their journals."
By this afternoon, the announcement had already drawn sharp criticism; detractors point out that the open access journal model is inherently unsustainable.
"Look, I get it, I really do. 'OA' gets info out there for everyone. But who's paying for it? The authors, that's who. Either the quality of the journal will suffer, or the quality of research will," commented CalTech's Professor Daniel Pearson. "Plus, if we're honest, we all know those poor editors aren't seeing one extra cent from all this 'fair-trade' nonsense," added Pearson.
Supporters were equally quick to defend the announcement. "It's definitely a step in the right direction," stated Emily Sharpe, PhD., a staff scientist at Johns Hopkins. "We need to transition to a model of completely open access publishing in order to end institutional favoritism. And did you know that journals' digestive systems didn't evolve to process grain? They deserve to eat a natural, all grass diet."
MacDonald also indicated that ACS was exploring the idea of a non-GMO, chemical-free journal, possibly to be introduced in mid-2016.