I would like to issue a call to action. Neuroscientists, it’s time to be open. Really, this is ridiculous. While fields like physics are making great strides in open access, we in neuroscience are locking away more research in subscription journals everyday, where many people around the world can’t access it, learn from it, or build on it. It’s just wrong. Period. So, take those manuscripts that are ready for prime time and submit them to open access (BOAI-compliant) journals today. It’s that simple.

And one more thing, IGNORE impact factor. Yes, I said ignore it. Impact factors say nothing about the quality of the published science, and actually correlate highly with retraction rate. See this great post by Stephen Curry on why IFs should be scrapped. It is unfortunate that many in neuroscience still believe it’s necessary to publish in high-profile subscription journals like Neuron and Nature Neuroscience. (And unfortunate as well that many members of hiring and tenure committees think the same.) If you’re one of those people, you probably won’t be reading my blog for much longer. But before you go, I’d encourage you to read this piece by Michael Eisen on why you should consider changing your perspective.

I want to believe that there are many neuroscientists out there who would like to support open access, but just aren’t sure where to submit their work. So, I’ve compiled a list of open access neuroscience journals. I’ve divided these up into three categories: (1) open access journals devoted to neuroscience, (2) open access journals which are not devoted exclusively to neuroscience, but publish research articles in the area as part of a broader portfolio, and (3) hybrid journals devoted to neuroscience which are subscription-based but offer an open access option. I have excluded journals from publishers such as Wiley or the Society for Neuroscience, which offer what they call an open access option, but under conditions which are not BOAI-compliant (see update 10/27/2012 below). I have also excluded Elsevier journals for two main reasons. First, I am one of over 12K researchers who have signed The Cost of Knowledge boycott refusing to publish, review, and/or do editing work for any Elsevier journal. The reasons for the boycott are explained in detail here. Second, unlike publishers such as Springer who clearly outline their open access policies and licenses, Elsevier has been reluctant to be so open (pun definitely intended). For more discussion of this, see posts by Mike Taylor over at SV-POW! (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5).  Finally, I have excluded journals from suspected ‘predatory’ publishers. You can refer to the table below, or download the full spreadsheet OANeuroscienceJournals in one of three available file formats on figshare (see update 10/27/2012 below).

CATEGORY 1        
Journal title Publisher License APC (USD) Waivers
ASN Neuro American Society for Neurochemistry CC-BY-NC $1,200-$1,750 not specified
Behavioral and Brain Functions BioMed Central CC-BY $2,010 yes
BMC Neuroscience BioMed Central CC-BY $1,980 yes
Brain and Behavior Wiley CC-BY $2,000-$2,500 yes
Frontiers in Neuroscience* Frontiers CC-BY $753-$2,621 yes
Journal of Mathematical Neuroscience Springer CC-BY $1,295 yes
Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders BioMed Central CC-BY $2,245 yes
Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation BioMed Central CC-BY $1,730 yes
Journal of Neuroinflammation BioMed Central CC-BY $2,040 yes
Molecular Brain BioMed Central CC-BY $1,730 yes
Molecular Neurodegeneration BioMed Central CC-BY $2,170 yes
Neural Development BioMed Central CC-BY $2,085 yes
Neuroglia BioMed Central CC-BY $1,730 yes
Translational Neurodegeneration BioMed Central CC-BY none N/A
Journal title Publisher License APC (USD) Waivers
BMC Research Notes BioMed Central CC-BY $1,085 yes
eLife eLife Sciences Publications Ltd. CC-BY none N/A
F1000 Research Faculty of 1000 CC-BY $500-$1,000 yes
PLoS Biology Public Library of Science CC-BY $0-$2,900 yes
PLoS Computational Biology Public Library of Science CC-BY $0-$2,250 yes
PLoS ONE Public Library of Science CC-BY $0-$1,350 yes
Springer Plus Springer CC-BY $1,100 yes
Journal title Publisher License APC (USD) Waivers
Brain Oxford University Press CC-BY-NC $0-$3,000 yes
Cerebral Cortex Oxford University Press CC-BY-NC $0-$3,000 yes
Journal of Computational Neuroscience Springer CC-BY $3,000 no
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience Springer CC-BY $3,000 no
Neural Processing Letters Springer CC-BY $3,000 no
Neurochemical Research Springer CC-BY $3,000 no
Neurogenetics Springer CC-BY $3,000 no
Translational Neuroscience Springer CC-BY $3,000 no

*Note: Frontiers in Neuroscience is made up of several specialty sections and journals. For a full list see here. The range in Article Processing Charges (APCs) is due to either membership versus non-membership fees (ASN Neuro), article type (Frontiers), or country of submitting authors (PLoS, Oxford University Press). Most journals listed here offer partial or complete waivers if authors are unable to pay. Also, some publishers (e.g. BMC) have deals in place such that member universities pay APCs on behalf of authors working for their institution.

The above is not an exhaustive list, so please let me know of any journals that should be added. I’d also love to hear from anyone who has submitted to any of the journals above. Why did you decide to submit to that journal? What was the submission and review process like? Pros, cons? What has been your experience with open access versus subscription journals?

Bottom line: At least now you can’t use the excuse that you don’t know where to publish your research. You have a lot of options. You can work in neuroscience and be open.

Update 10/27/2012: I have added Wiley’s journal Brain and Behavior, which publishes articles under a CC-BY license. However, I have still left off Wiley’s subscription-based journals because their OnlineOpen option does not specify a license, and the terms and conditions are not BOAI-compliant. I should also note that the list above contains three journals that use the CC-BY-NC license, which is not fully BOAI-compliant because of the non-commercial clause that puts some restrictions on reuse. However, I have included these journals because this is still a fairly open license and only one step down from CC-BY on the scale of “How Open Is It?”. The full spreadsheet was previously available for download on this blog, but I have moved it to figshare because this is a more permanent location in which to store it, allows for wider dissemination, and permits better version control than my blog.) Finally, thanks to suggestions by two readers (see comments), I have added the journals BMC Research Notes, and F1000 Research to Category 2. The spreadsheet posted on figshare will be updated to reflect these changes, and will continue to be updated as needed with additional journals.