Some Science: A Publication in Advances in Condensed Matter Physics
Advances in Condensed Matter Physics is an open access journal. I have published in OA journals before, but I am pretty selective about them. For example IUCrJ is is published by the IUCr, and I strongly believe that their name is a ‘guarantee of quality’ as good as any. The other open access paper was in ISRN Materials Science, which was more of an unknown quantity for me, and being a publisher who seems to have expanded via the OA model, the idea of sending work there initially filled me with skepticism. This rather abated when it turned out they wanted a commissioned article and they were even prepared to pay me for it. I am quite happy with how it turned out. The picture below is not that paper but the new one.
Recently, I got an email from Advances in Condensed Matter Physics asking me for an article. Now, I delete several of these sorts of emails a day, and was about to delete this one when I thought, well, perhaps I should give the publisher — Hindawi, publishers of ISRN Materials Science — a second look. The fact that they were prepared to commission something from me showed (of course) remarkable good taste, and the fact that they were prepared to pay for it (and did) suggested that they have an intention of climbing out of the ruck and mall of crappy OA publishers.
So I reread the email. It appeared that they were prepared to waive the fee. Good start. I then went to the ACMP website and searched for the names and work of some scientists that I respect. And they had indeed published there. The journal has a proper impact factor, even if not especially high, and is not just indexed on google scholar (ie, not really indexed at all) but in proper databases like Web of Science. Okay, so it seems like a real journal.
There was an article I wanted to write, one of a very specific kind. I have been developing and using the ZMC software for modelling diffuse scattering from molecular crystals — looking at subtle orderings in materials to improve understanding of structure and function. The process is non-trivial, and not easy for the novice to get a grip on. So what I wanted to do was create an example of a simulation of a crystal, write a paper about it, then upload a bundle of files (as ‘additional material’) that would let a user recreate the simulation.
This seemed like an ideal opportunity, because the software would then be available and not hidden behind a paywall. Indeed, that is how it has worked out — the simulation (‘supplementary material’) can be downloaded by anyone by going to this page.
So not all OA publishers are alike, but it is important that a prospective author does their research into the journal and makes sure they are credible.