ASBMB journals move to open access

The ASBMB is pleased to announce that the society’s three highly regarded journals — Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and Journal of Lipid Research — will be fully open access beginning in January 2021.

The ASBMB exists to meet the needs and respond to the demands of its members, and our members, in line with the broader scientific community, have called for immediate and free public access to research published in ASBMB journals in order to reduce barriers to scientific knowledge and accelerate discoveries.

ASBMB journals have for years made accepted manuscripts immediately available for free as Papers in Press and have embargoed the final redacted versions of articles for subscribers for only a single year. In addition, authors have had the option to pay an additional fee for immediate open access of the final version of a paper or upload the accepted version for free to a public repository. As of January, the final versions of all articles will be immediately available to everyone, qualifying ASBMB journals as “gold” open access. This is important because an increasing number of funders of biomedical research are requiring its grantees to publish in only “gold” journals.

Our decision-making process was careful and consultative. During our months-long deliberations, we had to balance what is best for science and scientists with what is sustainable for a nonprofit organization. Ultimately, we determined that the ASBMB cannot achieve its goal of full open access alone, so we made the strategic decision to enter into an agreement with the commercial publisher Elsevier, which has experience transitioning subscription journals to full open access and the requisite technical expertise and infrastructure.

We want to emphasize that this agreement will not change the peer-review process at any of our journals. JBC, MCP and JLR remain committed to rigorous, fast and fair review — by active scientists.

We are happy to report, also, that the agreement will smooth the submission process for authors and reduce the cost of open-access publishing — for both members and nonmembers alike. It also will make our journals easier to read on mobile devices, discoverable on the platform ScienceDirect and, generally speaking, more nimble technologically.

Transitioning from a subscription model to an open-access model is complicated, but we know this is the right decision for the ASBMB. Throughout our deliberations, we kept focused on our goal: to make the high-quality papers we publish immediately and permanently available for everyone to read, download, copy and distribute.

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ASBMB journals move to open access image

FAQ for ASBMB journals moving to open access

Why are ASBMB journals going open access?

The ASBMB’s mission is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology and to promote the understanding of the molecular nature of life processes. Free and immediate access to high-quality research reduces barriers to scientific knowledge and accelerates discovery.

Also, an increasing number of funders of biomedical research are requiring their grantees to publish in “gold” open access journals. ASBMB’s transition means that, as of Jan. 1, 2021, all of our published articles will be in compliance with these funder mandates and will meet the requirements of OA initiatives such as Plan S.

When will ASBMB journals be open access?

On Jan. 1, 2021, all ASBMB journal content will become freely available to all.

My funder/institution requires me to publish open access. How do I do this in ASBMB journals?

If you are submitting a paper before the transition to our new submission system (Editorial Manager) and your funder or institution requires your paper to have a Creative Commons By Attribution license (CC-BY), you should select the “Author’s Choice” option. All accepted papers that are submitted via Editorial Manager will be published under a CC-BY license. Transition to Editorial Manager will occur on the following dates:

  • Journal of Biological Chemistry – Nov. 1, 2020
  • Journal of Lipid Research – Nov. 9, 2020
  • Molecular & Cellular Proteomics – Nov. 16, 2020
How much does it cost to publish an open-access article?

Following our transition to the new submission system (Editorial Manager), all authors who submit to the journal, and whose articles are accepted for publication, will pay a flat article publishing charge (APC). These APCs are reasonably priced at $2,000 for ASBMB members or $2,500 for nonmembers, excluding taxes. Transition to Editorial Manager will occur on the following dates:

  • Journal of Biological Chemistry – Nov. 1, 2020
  • Journal of Lipid Research – Nov. 9, 2020
  • Molecular & Cellular Proteomics – Nov. 16, 2020

These papers will be published under a CC-BY license.

What does a journal switching to gold open access mean for authors?

Authors’ work will be published under the CC-BY and will be freely available for anyone to access and read on journal websites, ScienceDirect and PubMed Central.

What does a journal switching to gold open access mean for readers?

Readers will no longer need subscriptions to read the journals. All articles will be freely available.

What does a journal switching to gold open access mean for subscribers?

Subscribers can continue to access ASBMB journal content as part of their collections and subscriptions until Dec. 31, 2020. On Jan. 1, 2021, subscriptions will no longer be necessary because all content will become freely available.

What happens to all the articles published before 2021? Will they become gold open access?

Articles published under the “Author’s Choice” option will maintain their existing CC-BY license and will remain open access. Articles published before 2021 without a CC-BY license will be free to download and read but will not be gold open access.

Will the ASBMB maintain editorial control of its journals?

Yes. The editors of all of our journals — Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and Journal of Lipid Research — remain committed to rigorous, fast and fair peer review by practicing scientists.

What is the difference between green and gold OA?

Green OA articles are publications made available by authors who “self-archive” their manuscripts in freely accessible institutional repositories or websites. In contrast, gold OA articles are made immediately and permanently available by the publisher on its website.

I thought ASBMB journals were already OA. What’s different now?

ASBMB journals have made accepted manuscripts immediately and freely available as Papers in Press for years. In addition, authors have had the option of paying an additional fee to make the final versions of their articles immediately available to the public. Adopting gold OA means all of the articles we publish will be immediately and permanently available. Authors publishing gold OA articles will retain Creative Commons “Attribution” licenses (CC BY), which means others can “distribute, remix, tweak and build upon” licensed work, as long as the original author is credited.

Why is the ASBMB transitioning to gold OA?

We are responding to the needs and interests of our members and the broader scientific community for immediate and free public access to research published in ASBMB journals. Our goal is simple: To make the high-quality papers we publish immediately and permanently available for everyone to read, download, copy, distribute and reuse.

What is Plan S?

In 2018, a group of national research funding organizations, supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), launched cOAlition S. The primary principle of Plan S follows:

“With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.”

I like publishing with society journals because they support the scientific community. With this arrangement, will that still be the case?

The ASBMB exists to meet the needs of and respond to the demands of its members. Our commitment to invest in the communities we serve remains unchanged. This partnership will enable us to offer additional member benefits in the future.

Why did you select Elsevier?

Transitioning to gold open access and migrating 115 years of articles introduces significant barriers. After considering several potential affiliates, the ASBMB chose to pursue a publishing agreement with Elsevier on the basis of its open access experience and technological capabilities. We’d like to make clear that this is not a buyout. Our agreement with Elsevier helps us navigate these obstacles as we make our content freely available to all.

What was the process you followed to select a publishing partner?

Our decision-making process was careful and consultative. Our president, Gerald Hart, convened a task force — made up of journal editors, associate editors and other elected society leaders — in spring 2019 to determine how the ASBMB should approach gold open access. The task force determined that the only financially viable way that ASBMB could embrace gold open access would be through a publishing agreement with a commercial publisher. The task force reviewed proposals from publishers and created a shortlist of those that should present their proposals in February 2020.

Primary considerations were:

  • Do they have experience successfully transitioning journals to gold OA?
  • Do they have the technical infrastructure to support ASBMB journals, including migrating their substantial archives?
  • Can they add value to enhance the author and reader experiences?

After the publisher presentations, the task force recommended that the ASBMB Council proceed with Elsevier, a decision ratified by Council shortly afterwards. The contract with Elsevier was finalized and unanimously approved by the ASBMB Council in late April 2020.