“From January 2021 on, we are pleased to offer authors of primary research papers an expanded array of publishing options, including open access (OA). Nature and the Nature Research journals, including Nature Methods, have become ‘transformative journals’, meaning that while we still offer traditional subscription-based publication, we aim to increase the number of OA papers we publish each year, with the ultimate goal of becoming a fully OA journal….”
“Although I welcome the ‘guided open access’ option being adopted by the Nature family of journals (see Nature 588, 19–20; 2020), I have serious ethical concerns about it in the short and medium term.
These go beyond the commonly voiced financial and organizational problems, such as how to get funders on board or how reviews can be transferred to other publishers. For example, given that most manuscripts are rejected without review, wealthy authors or disciplines might use the guided option to buy their way into the process. In a world where slots in highly influential journals are limited, positive reviews of manuscripts that might otherwise be rejected could disadvantage those unable to afford the guided option, and make selection of non-guided manuscripts harder.
Moreover, what would happen if the success of guided open access were to cause a sudden flood of reviewing requests from Nature journals? Potential reviewers might not react well to participating for free, knowing that authors are paying for the chance to have their manuscript reviewed. Incentives for reviewers beyond serving the scientific community might be necessary. Such incentives, together with the opportunity to review high-flying manuscripts, could affect the dynamics of the finite pool of reviewers by diverting reviewers from other journals. The net result could be control of the peer-review process by a few important publishers….”
2016 is the year when piracy finally became an unavoidable topic in the domain of scholarly communications. This article gives insight into the Guerilla Open Access (GOA) movement, which is responsible for the creation and maintenance of massive, copyright infringing, freely accessible online shadow libraries of scholarly works: journal articles, monographs, textbooks. It reconstructs the developments in the western and global academia and scholarly publishing which led to the birth of the movement, and identifies some of the factors its ongoing existence depends on. The article discusses several aspects of the GOA movement: the alliance of scholars in the global centers and at the global peripheries, the alliance of public and clandestine operations, and its relationship with, and its differences from the Open Access (OA) approach, which aims to facilitate the accessibility of scholarly communications through legal means.