New Term: MOAMJ = Multidisciplinary Open Access Mega Journal

IEEE Access

Open Access

IEEE has just announced that it will be starting a new gold open-access mega-journal to be called IEEE Access.  In launching the journal, the publisher has also coined a new term for the journal’s genre: Multidisciplinary Open Access Mega Journal (MOAMJ).

The editor of the journal is Dr. Michael Pecht of the University of Maryland. He’s currently assembling an editorial board and establishing the journal’s publishing policies.

IEEE Access appears to be following the “light review” standard established by PLOS ONE. Their website says:

But, unlike IEEE’s traditional Transactions or Journals, reviewers are asked to assess the technical correctness of a paper and its potential interest to readers, but not its fundamental novelty or potential impact. Readers will evaluate the work through their comments and usage metrics, updated frequently, will be displayed with the abstract of each paper published.

The term “Multidisciplinary Open Access Mega Journal” may be a little imprecise in this case, for the journal says,

To be accepted for publication in IEEE AccessTM, articles must satisfy the following criteria: The article presents the results of original engineering research, development, or design work [...]  [emphasis added]

So it is really “multidisciplinary” only in terms of the disciplines represented by IEEE. You cannot, for example, submit a paper on 17th century British poetry and expect it to get published here, despite the use of the term “multidisciplinary.”

Note that this journal is not on my list of predatory journals. I hope that IEEE Access’ editorial standards are higher than in other IEEE publications. I have observed instances of plagiarism in their publications, and I find it annoying that the publisher often does not add sufficient metadata to its PDFs, meaning that after you print out one of their articles, you have no idea what journal or transaction it came from, when it was published, and the like.

Finally, regarding the article processing fee for this new journal, I found this:


Only $1,750.00 !

That is not cheap.

Hat tip: Felipe G. Nievinski

12 Responses to New Term: MOAMJ = Multidisciplinary Open Access Mega Journal

  1. David Solomon says:

    I believe multidisciplinary means multiple disciplines, not everything from soup to nuts An APC of $1,750 I agree is disappointing. Either authors will be willing to pay or not. Time will tell.

    • Felipe G. Nievinski says:

      I predict soon there will be also POAMJ: “pan-disciplinary open access mega journals”, also known as “anything-reasonable-as-long-as-authors-pay-publishers-and-publishers-don’t-pay-reviewers”. This situation is getting ridiculous. I’m hoping a decent alternative — a grassroots movement? — will emerge out of all these disruptions in academic publishing. Maybe the Scielo model?

      • David Solomon says:

        I agree, we could do better. There are other alternatives. PeerJ and SCOAP3 along with direct government funding through models like SciLEO all look promising. I think it will all sort itself out eventually.

  2. Felipe G. Nievinski says:

    Here’s a tentative list of MOAMJ’s:
    - PLoS ONE ($1350) — “submissions in any discipline that will contribute to the base of scientific knowledge”
    - SpringerPlus ($1080) — “all disciplines of Science”
    - Nature’s Science Reports ($1350) — “all areas of the natural sciences”
    - IEEE Access ($1750) — “all IEEE fields of interest”
    - Nature Communications ($5000) — “all areas of the biological, physical and chemical sciences”
    - BMJ Open ($1885) — “medical research from all disciplines and therapeutic areas”
    - SAGE Open ($99) — “span the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities”

    • Yehuda Klein says:

      There is clearly a big difference between SAGE Open ($99) and the others ($1080 and up). How does SAGE rate on the other Beall criteria?

    • This useful reply could be the start of a much-needed online price-comparison service for all journals, published in all ways.

      For price X do we get:

      Serious reviewers?
      Personal feedback from a qualified journal editor?
      Good copyediting?
      Effective distribution and active promotion of the journal?
      A definite/known/knowable target audience?
      Print-on-demand or print issue options?
      Clear and attractive publication contracts?
      Self-archiving rights?
      Indexed journals?
      Active link referencing?
      Reader feedback management?
      Contigency plans for possible closure of the journal?
      Supplementary data storage?
      Suitably-measured/meaningful impact factors?


      If journals become too mega in their scope, there’s a good chance (statistically speaking) that not many people will be giving specific attention to production values in your area of the journal.

  3. stvfdz says:

    As a reviewer and an author contributing to PLoS One I believe that its peer review process cannot labelled as “light review”. But it is just my opinion based on my experience…

  4. Felipe G. Nievinski says:

    I’m starting to think that community might be a useful demarcation principle, i.e., whether or not a journal is sponsored or organized by an academic or professional member society. The rationale is that, contrary to creating a website, it is not trivial to attract and retain members. This principle separates well bogus or fake journals. It also separates mega journals (open or not), such as PLoS ONE, IEEE Access, Nature Scientific Reports, etc. which, although genuine, don’t serve any single community — their signal-to-noise ratio is low for any individual scientist.

  5. Felipe G. Nievinski says:

    One more: SpringerPlus — “accepts manuscripts from all disciplines of Science”.

  6. As someone who spent six years as a volunteer editor for IEEE Software Magazine, several as Assistant Editor-in-Chief, I am deeply disappointed that IEEE has chosen this so-called “open” model of forcing authors to pay huge fees to get their articles freely distributed. As a strong advocate of open source software, I would also point out that to many people, using the word “open” to describe a process in which cash-strapped graduate students are forced to pay huge fees just to make the results of all their hard work visible is very close to a slap in the face.

    Given its long history of cooperative reliance on the support and expertise of the same technology and science communities that it supports, it would have made more sense for IEEE to do the exact opposite. They could for example have rewarded well-received papers with “Open Honors,” that is, with a waiving all distribution rights on them. IEEE could have then placed such papers on a prominent and authoritative web site, and added supporting materials such as author blogging to entice viewers to that site. With such a site they could then have used more traditional advertising models to generate revenues.

    Finally, I am concerned that a pay-your-way-out-of-copyright-jail model will erode the very academic reputation upon which IEEE is built. With a pay-for-your-freedom model, the economic incentives behind IEEE publications switch from a focus on ensuring the highest possible quality of every article, to moving as many articles as quickly as possible through the system. Instead of IEEE getting volunteer reviewers who help solely because they care about the topic and want to see good work promoted, you most likely will end up having to pay reviewers. Once you do that, the incentive again is in the wrong direction, and it will tempt reviewers to focus on how many articles they can mill through, rather than on which articles are the ones that could make a real difference in the world.

    • Felipe G. Nievinski says:

      Indeed, selectivity is no longer a sought-after quality in academic publishing. We as a community are in desperate need of a new way of separating the shaft from the wheat. All the signs indicate we’re moving away from the classic model of pre-publication strict peer-review and narrow-focused journals to a post-publication value-adding process. New players and tools are emerging: the topic curator, bloggers, online social networking for academics, collaborative reference management, open refereeing and discussion, etc. No longer citing a paper is the only way of noticing it. Sure, the current situation brings discomforts but I see these as growing pains, symptoms of this transitioning period.

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