February 10, 2021: Posted by One Surgery Admin
The status quo of academic publishing
Academic journals date back to the 17th century with the first medical journals published in the late 18th century (1). Over the next 200 years, medical journals have become the most essential form of communication for medical researchers and clinicians all over the world. It is now estimated almost 2 million scientific articles are published each year (2).
The rise of the internet has made content more accessible with the development of new and innovative models of publishing, moving away from traditional printed journals, to online access, web archives and repositories. Furthermore, a more digitally connected world has allowed greater global collaboration between researchers from east and west, north and south.
With our smaller, more connected world, the publishing industry has tried to evolve and adapt to the growing needs of the consumers of medical research, with a greater push towards open access scientific articles and more accessibility to all. However, despite a surge in open access journals, drawbacks still exist regarding the newer publishing models, with a worrying rise in predatory journals (3) and a dramatic increase in publishing costs, with article processing charges up to $10,000 now billed to the authors for the pleasure of publishing their work.
Understandably, this is now causing alarm, particularly within the the global health and global surgery communities, where such publishing fees are beyond the reasonable means for researchers in lower income settings. (4)
The truth is, we can all agree there is a major problem within our publishing sector – now firmly established as a multibillion dollar industry. At its most basic analysis, the creators of medical knowledge (researchers) work tirelessly, and often without recompense, to contribute new information to their respective communities in order to improve the lives of patients. This newly created medical knowledge is peer-reviewed by like minded scientists, again, often without payment, to ensure the science is valid. Once the science is created and validated, often the result of months or years of respected work, this is handed over to a medical journal, either by signing over all legal ownership of the work, or if the article is published as open access, researchers are held hostage by the journal to their enormous article processing fees. This is a skewed relationship, where one industry is clearly profiteering off the dedicated works of another.
A new paradigm: Transparent, high quality, low cost peer-reviewed journals, backed by the community, powered by cryptocurrency
One.Surgery recently successfully fundraised with the Bitcoin Cash community to fund a new project, aiming to launch a revolutionary new peer-review journal model. The model is exceedingly simply and removes profiteering from the publishing industry, with the aim to make all research publications affordable to the community with 100% transparent accounting.
By utilising the unique properties of cryptocurrency and in particular, our partnership with Bitcoin Cash, we hope to create the first ever, fully scalable crypto-powered journal that solves some significant roadblocks that currently exist within our publishing industry.
How the journal works
1. Authors submit their work as usual
As standard practice, authors will submit their scientific work through a custom built manuscript submission platform to the journal.
2. The work undergoes peer review
Again, as standard practice, the work undergoes peer review by a body of peer reviewers affiliated with the journal. As an appreciation, there maybe a possibility of peer reviewers earning a small stipend in cryptocurrency for their work.
3. If accepted, the journal publishes the article with a transparent price tag
Once the article is accepted, edited and undergone type-setting, the journal will publish the article and submit it to relevant databases and archives. The journal will also publish to the readers the exact expense it paid to create the article, including a breakdown of all fees. With modern web software, it is anticipated this price tag will be approximately $50-$100 per article.
4. Any bitcoin cash payment can access the article
The journal will accept any size of bitcoin cash payment to access the article, ranging from a micropayment of $0.10, to the full price tag of the article. Anyone who makes any size of payment, will have full downloadable access of the article, Furthermore, any payment received for the article will lower the overall article price tag, til the price becomes $0. Once $0 is achieved, the journal has recouped its full publishing costs, and the article is opened to the entire community as community owned, copyright free. For example, if an article is published with a price tag of $50, anyone in the community can choose to pay the entire fee to open up the article (for example, the author, a philanthropist, an invested university etc), or, multiple users throughout out the world can combine to simply pay a minimum amount each to access the article whilst slowly contributing to create a lower remaining price tag.
How does Bitcoin Cash work and up the payment system for this new journal?
Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency established in 2017 with a thriving and dedicated online community.
This currency allows instant peer-to-peer payments with minimal transaction fees. It is borderless and permission-less, meaning anyone in the world with a basic internet connection can create a wallet and transact with the currency, with no barriers, restrictions or red-tape.
By utilising such innovative technology and with the journal being able to accept micropayments (with no added fees), it truly means anyone in the world can obtain a bitcoin cash wallet and access peer reviewed science with any payments they choose to afford, and also contribute to the overall community funding to create open access, high quality, peer review work – ensuring no financial resources ever leave the scientific community.
1. Maintains community pressure on quality
The journal will only recoup their expenses if the community chooses to pay for that specific article. This ensures the journal has a vested interest in only publishing articles they feel will add value to the community.
2. Recognises and rewards contributions
By offering potential stipends to peer reviewers, and potentially to authors also, the journal recognises the time and dedication that researchers provide to the world of science, and funding is put back into the community.
3. Reduces demand for piracy and potential for predatory journals
By making every article affordable and accessible to everyone in the world, the journal lessens the need for piracy, and reduces the opportunity for predatory journals to extort money from unsuspecting researchers.
4. The community funds the article
Since the community ultimately pays for the article expenses (to open the article), the community will also have an incentive to share the article with peers and disseminate the work.
5. Transparent finances
As the journal transparently publishes all its expenses, the community is aware where the costs are to going to publish work.
The journal will be built in such a way to allow seemless duplication, with minimal technical knowledge – allowing other editorial boards and communities to produce their own unique crypto journal with the same model, with minimal set-up fees and full tech support.
One.Surgery will now begin a consulting process with the global surgery and bitcoin cash communities in order to establish an editorial board and develop a road map to bring the project to fruition.
We also invite volunteers to join the project, including potential peer reviewers.
Our aim is to launch the journal officially within 2021.
For any questions or queries, please contact Saqib Noor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1.Global Trends in Medical Journal Publishing. J Korean Med Sci. 2013 Aug; 28(8): 1120–1121.
2.The STM report: an overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing. International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers; 2012.
3.Open Access Medical Journals: Promise, Perils, and Pitfalls Eileen F Baker 1, Kenneth V Iserson, Andrew L Aswegan, Gregory L Larkin, Arthur R Derse, Chadd K Kraus, American College of Emergency Physicians Ethics Committee. Acad Med . 2019 May;94(5):634-639.
4.How Prestige Journals Remain Elite, Exclusive And Exclusionary.Madu Pai.
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