[Open access journals are] a nice option for more rapid publication, for publishing more experimental or non-mainstream papers, or for those without the same rigor of main journal studies. —John. H. Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA
Explore This IssueAugust 2020
Otolaryngologists, like other medical specialists, need access to good research and information to provide the best care possible to their patients. As researchers, they also need to establish their credentials and build their scientific reputation by publishing in high quality and respected journals. To help weigh the value of open access journals to accomplish both these goals, we asked the following editors-in-chief of the three open access otolaryngology journals for their thoughts on open access.
Rakesh K. Chandra, MD, editor-in-chief, Ear, Nose & Throat Journal
Dr. Chandra underscored the idea that the quality of open access journals has come a long way since they first emerged. Historically, publishing in these journals was often considered less prestigious, he said, because of the fewer legitimate open access journals available and their known lower peer review standards.
Dr. Chandra noted that many of the early open access journals were predatory journals, charging people large publishing fees for thinly peer-reviewed articles, or no peer review or editing at all. “People were essentially paying money to have articles published,” he said. “Some of those open access journals were outright spam, fishing-type expeditions.”
Many open access journals now, however, mandate a more rigorous peer review process. Prestige in publishing, Dr. Chandra said, now depends on the journal. Dr. Chandra explained that all articles he accepts are vetted through a thorough peer review process and are fully indexed in Medline.
D. Bradley Welling, MD, PhD, editor-in-chief, Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology
Dr. Welling suggested another aspect of the evolution and quality of open access journals: Open access journals need to establish themselves in the shadow of the larger presence of traditional journals. One advantage of Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology is the feasibility of publishing articles in color and in longer formats at no extra cost. “We have really nice papers published, and award-winning Triological Society theses, along with nicely designed and executed high quality studies,” he said, adding that negative studies are also published, which helps to reduce others from repeating unnecessary research.
John. H. Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA, editor-in-chief, Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and
Dr. Krouse doesn’t think publishing in open access journals is necessarily less prestigious than traditional journals. “There are some very highly rated, high-impact, open access journals, particularly in Europe,” he said. Dr. Krouse also noted the push in Europe to change the metrics from traditional impact factors to other ways to evaluate the utility and rigor of a study.