The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) has implemented a subscription model, ending a short reign of free access to high-quality scientific videos.
The reason is simple: we have to survive. To cover costs of our operations, to break even, we have to charge $6,000 per video article. This is to cover costs of the video-production and technological infrastructure for video-publication, which are higher than in traditional text-only publishing. Academic labs cannot pay $6,000 per article, and therefore we have to find other sources to cover the costs.
Pritsker started the journal in 2006 when he was a post-doc at Harvard and later received private investment in order to attend to the journal full-time. He would not disclose the investor or the sum in a 2007 interview appearing in The Scientist.
Institutional subscriptions now range from $1,000 for small colleges to $2,400 for PhD-granting institutions, prices which are in league with other commercial scientific journals. In addition, authors are charged $1,500 per article for video production services ($500 without), and there are open access options: $3,000/article with production services ($2,000 without).
I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. JOVE set themselves a monumental task, trying to break ground with a new type of science publishing AND at the same time trying to do so with an unproven business model. Doing both together was perhaps a bit too ambitious.
Crotty believes that striving for high production quality and editorial oversight made JoVE too expensive for a producer-pays model. PLoS recognized this fact earlier on, launching PLoS ONE under a less-stringent, high-volume model. Earlier this year, the Journal of Clinical Investigation implemented its first online subscription model.
Crotty also lamented that publishing a methods paper is not a glamorous route for an aspiring scientist. Getting scientists to produce them, let alone pay the production costs, is a challenge for any publisher.