Blackwell Publishing has announced the launch of a new service, Online Open, which offers authors the opportunity to make their articles freely available to all users of the internet in perpetuity on payment of a publication fee. The new Online Open service will be on trial through to the end of 2006. During this period, authors of accepted articles will have the option to pay a fee of $2,500 or £1,250 (plus VAT where applicable), which will ensure that their article is made freely accessible to all via Blackwell's online journals platform Blackwell Synergy. Online Open articles will be published to exactly the same high standards as subscription-based articles, following the full peer-review process and benefiting from the same production procedures and online features. Online Open articles will also appear in the print edition of journals with an indicator pointing to the free access online.
The subscription prices for journals participating in the Online Open trial will be adjusted according to the number of author-pays articles that each journal expects to publish in the following year. Blackwell's subscription prices take into account any increase in the amount of material we expect to publish in the journal in the next year. The company will continue to use this information in setting pricing but we will only account for material published under the traditional publishing model. Any articles published under the new Online Open model will be excluded from this calculation as their costs will have been paid by the author or the author's funding body.
Blackwell Publishing is consulting with the societies for whom it publishes on whether they wish to be included in the trial of Online Open. The company will issue an initial list of those journals participating within the next two months and will add any other journals as societies choose to join. Blackwell expects that most of the initial journals in the trial will be in biology or medicine, subjects where there is likely to be funding for the author-pays model.