Today I received an email from Taylor & Francis letting me know that the final volume and pagination for one of our papers was available, and telling me that I should share this paper with the world. I should, as the open access (OA) costs are USD 3,000+. The article is here, by the way.

Today Elsevier sent me an email as well, confirming that OA fees of USD 3,400+ for our new accepted article were covered by our university’s Read and Publish Agreement.

Also today (it was a busy day!), MDPI sent me an email, stating that the authors of a new review were sharing their new OA article with me. It cost them 2,600 Swiss Francs or roughly USD 2,900 to do so. I consider MDPI Forests borderline predatory, so I wouldn’t pay to go there, but “cada loco con su tema”, as we say in Spanish.

I am part of a priviledged group, who works at one of the members of CAUL, an organisation for university libraries in Australia and New Zealand. We have access to big bucket agreements with publishers (the usual suspects like Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, etc). We have a quota of articles, first-in, first-served, that are published open access “for free”. Not quite, the universities pay for that quota, but researchers are not charged individually.

This situation creates funny incentives: OA publishing in journals run by big publishers has no direct cost to me. OA publishing in journals that I like—Annals of Forest Science, for example—but that are not part of my university agreement is unaffordable. I literally have no funding for it. As Annals of Forest Science only publishes OA articles, that’s bye, bye for me. A good alternative, in forestry at least, is to publish for free in an OA journal like the New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science. Give them a  try.

Today I was left with the horrible feeling that we are burning money for no clear purpose in the current publication environment. We could easily pay for better PhD scholarships or postdoc salaries with that money, although is not available for those purposes. We can only use it to keep on feeding publishers with insanely high profit rates. Crazy.

Anyway, if you are interested in essential oils from eucalypts, read the article. I mentioned this work before but now comes with fresh, shiny, cineole-smelling page numbers. Either that or the article smells like burning money.