Few business models exhibit as many cracks as that of traditional academic publishing. Universities fund researchers to labor on extensive projects, the results of which they summarize and submit to academic journals. These journals, in turn, profit from the free labor of other researchers who review or occasionally edit these manuscripts, usually in their spare time outside of work. Once the work is published, universities are forced to pay hefty subscription fees to regain access to their own research—over which they no longer hold any rights. While open access journals somewhat mitigate these issues by offering free access to research, they too exploit the uncompensated labor of academics.
At Advances.in, we believe it is time to reinvent academic publishing. We want to prove that it is possible to financially compensate editors and reviewers for their work and still run a profitable business that publishes high-quality research. Our ambition is to lead by example, encouraging more publishers to embrace our reformed business model over time.
When addressing this glaring issue, many entrenched publishers often resort to justifications for why compensating editors and reviewers is either unfeasible or would potentially threaten the peer-review process. One frequent assertion is the supposed technical difficulty of managing numerous contracts and financial transactions with experts across the globe. This seems paradoxical, considering these publishers face no such challenges when signing publishing contracts with and receiving payments from countless authors annually.
Another prevalent argument insists that sharing revenues with those who perform the most crucial roles—namely, the editors and reviewers—would render the publishers unprofitable. The sizable profit margins enjoyed by most conventional and open access publishers effortlessly debunk this claim.
Lastly, some publishers suggest that incentivizing reviewers with payments might corrupt the peer review process, promoting quick, subpar evaluations for easy earnings. We contest this view, believing that, with adequate quality control measures, the opposite is likely to be true. The quality of (free) reviews varies widely currently, often due to academics’ disillusionment with a publishing model that takes them for granted. It’s hardly shocking that their commitment wanes. Rewarding academics who often handle and review papers during their precious free time conveys genuine appreciation for their work and thus bolsters their commitment.
Our Scientific Journals
We have started our journey with the journal advances.in/psychology, which publishes original work that expands our knowledge in various psychological fields. Looking ahead, we aim to significantly broaden our range of journals, shaping the future of academic publishing.