Re: [visionlist] [cvnet] Re: Open Access responses

Hi Tom,

Excellent!  Good for you!  Roughly since the extended discussion on charges for open access publication on CVNet and VisionList, I’ve also been refusing to review for Vision Research, or other Elsevier journals, or to submit to them either.  That is for the broader reason that Elsevier seems the most recalcitrant publisher in terms of battles concerning open access.  For example, the Research Works Act, which was an attempt to reverse NIH’s policy of requiring open access to papers based on NIH funded research, was proposed by Reps Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), who both received considerable campaign contributions from Elsevier.  For this reason, I’ve also signed “The Cost of Knowledge” boycott on reviewing, editing, or publishing in Elsevier journals (with each component of the boycott being something one can separately agree to or not):

It seems that this boycott has produced some important action from Elsevier, such as their withdrawal of their support for the Research Works Act, though Elsevier denies that the boycott has affected their decisions. Importantly, after Elsevier withdrew its support of the Research Works Act, on the very same day, both Reps Issa and Maloney withdrew their support for their own bill (  This suggests that Elsevier was indeed very strongly connected to the bill.  Elsevier also talked about reducing publication prices for their Mathematics journal articles (with a goal of reducing them to $11/article). This seems related to the fact that prominent Mathematicians started the boycott.  The boycott continues, and currently has over 16,000 signatories. 



On Mon, Nov 28, 2016 at 6:21 AM, Tom Wallis wrote:

Dear all,

Over nine months ago, our journals were asked to “…respond to the survey, particularly addressing exactly why each journal is as expensive / cheap as it is, particularly its open access option, and whether each journal will provide transparent accounting of costs.”To my knowledge, four publishers (ARVO, Perception / SAGE, Frontiers and Psychonomics) have provided at least a cursory response, whereas Vision Research (Elsevier), the APA (JEP:HPP), Multisensory Research and MDPI’s Vision journal have provided no response. I recently decided to refuse a review request for Vision Research, providing the editor with the following letter:
Dear Editor,

As you’re aware, in January 2016 CVNet hosted a long discussion about open-access charges and journal costings more generally. This discussion resulted in a survey of the community (results here: All journals publishing vision-related content were invited to respond to the survey, particularly addressing “exactly why each journal is as expensive/cheap as it is, particularly its open access option, and whether each journal will provide transparent accounting of costs. Given that the data indicate that “Full academic or professional society control” is a high priority, editors should also comment on the ability of themselves and the rest of us to affect their journal’s policies, features and cost.”.

To my knowledge, Vision Research has as yet failed to respond to this survey, despite having agreed to such a response at its editorial board meeting at VSS in May. This is in contrast to some other journals and publishers, such as Perception / iPerception and ARVO. If this understanding is mistaken, please let me know and I will correct my stance.

Failing that, I therefore choose to withhold my services as a reviewer until such time as Vision Research / Elsevier engage with the community they supposedly serve.

Best regards

Tom Wallis
Should you feel similarly to me, perhaps you will also consider refusing review requests until those journals engage with our community. I provide more details, and will try to update a list of journals who have / have not replied, at my blog here: regardsTom Wallis

On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 6:03 PM, Lester Loschky wrote:

Thanks so much, Hans!  That is a very enlightening blog recapping the 2015 political action taken by the Dutch, English, Germans, and other countries to end the “serials crisis” caused by publishers over-charging for open access publication.  Interestingly, it sounds like Elsevier really IS the biggest obstacle among the major publishers. It also sounds like actions by libraries (e.g., the Library Partnership Subsidies) to get involved in open access publishing is a fantastic way to get prices down to the real costs.  

Best wishes,


On Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 4:52 AM, Hans Strasburger wrote:
Dear all,
while we are all brooding over what to do next, you might enjoy this blog on PLOS on open access developments:
Hans Strasburger, apl. Prof.
Ludwig Maximilian University München
Inst. f. Med. Psychologie
Georg August University Gö
Am 27.02.2016 um 21:22 schrieb Lester Loschky:

Hi Simon,
I fully share your reaction and your interpretation of the responses from our Vision Science journals to the results of Alex Holcombe’s survey. Clearly, there is a mismatch between what folks in the Vision Science community are wanting, and what we are getting, and it seems that the folks in charge of our journals are, by and large, not sure what to say about it at the moment.
I will say, however, that the “holding” statements from JOV and Psychonomics are entirely reasonable.  Any official changes are going to have be the product of discussion among the appropriate governing bodies.  We cannot expect any official changes to happen over night in response to the Vision Science community’s stated wishes for change.
On the other hand, one might also ask whether there is a valid distinction between “them” and “us” in this case, since the people doing the reviewing and editing are us (the Vision Science community).  So, any changes that start at a “grass roots” level will be by us.  That is, reviewers and editors of our various Vision Science journals who feel strongly about these issues may want to discuss among ourselves what we want, whether that would involve changes of the sort highlighted by Alex Holcombe’s questionnaire, and, if so, what those changes would concretely involve.  Such discussions are surely the most direct way to start moving towards the changes that the questionnaire shows are desired by us in the Vision Science community.
Best wishes,
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Simon Rushton < > wrote:
    I’ve been looking forward to reading the responses from journals.     Now Hoover has posted them (thank you Hoover) I’m not sure how to
    interpret them.
    Just to recap, Alex Holcombe’s survey prompted almost 400
    responses.  93% of people indicated that they “want change NOW”
    and he invited responses from the journals that serve the vision
    iPerception/Perception have provided a comprehensive response.
    JoV and Psychonomics have issued what I guess we’d call “holding”
    JEP:HPP; Vision; Multisensory Research; Vision Research and
    Frontiers: Perception have not responded.  They must be aware of
    the discussion and survey responses.
    I can’t be the only person that is disappointed by such a poor
    response from our journals (except Perception/iPerception) to an
    issue on which the community has expressed such a strong view.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s