Accompanied with much fanfare, a media event, and an embargoed news release, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust announced plans today to launch a top-tier open access journal in 2012 for biomedical and life sciences research.
The journal, however, lacks a name, an editor-in-chief, and even a business model.
Still, the journal is intended to attract the “very best research” and “make highly significant contributions that will extend the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”
How they plan to do this is unclear. And the process by which articles are selected, vetted and published seems neither groundbreaking nor transformative. Indeed, the process very much resembles that of BMJ Open, with a few missing pieces:
The journal will employ an open and transparent peer review process in which papers will be accepted or rejected as rapidly as possible, generally with only one round of revisions, and with limited need for modifications or additional experiments. For transparency, reviewers’ comments will be published anonymously.
Sifting through cliches like, “This will be a journal for scientists edited by scientists,” it is hard to figure what this new journal will provide that other open access journals lack and what niche this journal is intended to fill.
Fortunately, the journal will be supported with the financial support of its sponsors, ensuring a successful launch. Beyond that, a long-term business model will need to be determined:
The three organisations have made a commitment to cover the costs of launching the journal to ensure its success. The long-term business model will be developed by the incoming Editor-in-Chief and the team they build.