Ulrike Diebold

Research Area
Surface Physics

Research Institution

Vienna University of Technology

Academic Position

Important Grants or Merits
Wittgenstein Award by the FWF, ERC Advanced Grant

The journal online-access fees charged by some publishing houses can only be described as scandalous. In the era of typesetting and glossy prints it might have been justified to charge hefty subscription fees for scientific journals. Nowadays we (i.e., the scientists) deliver an almost finished product. We write the articles, we act as journal editors, we review them as referees, we revise them according to the referees' reports, and then we pass on to the publisher our pdf file (plus copyright!). They post the pdf on their webpage, and sell it back to us at a horrendous price. To top it off, all our activities are financed by public funds, i.e., the tax payers.  The worst part of the current situation, however, is that it limits access for scientists of poorer countries or institutions. The experience with journals that are published by professional societies (e.g., American Chemical Society or American Physical Society) shows that other business models are viable. These societies charge a much more reasonable fee for the whole suite of their journals, which are often of excellent quality.