Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay.
—Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Open-access journal publishing has been criticized on a whole range of grounds as being unsustainable, unfair, or ineffective.  Perhaps the starkest criticism is that open-access journals amount to a vanity publishing industry, and will exhibit a “race to the bottom” in which journals compete to lower editorial standards to capture the revenue for publishing articles.  Is open-access journal publishing prone to the problems of a vanity press?

There are both theoretical and empirical arguments that the concern is unfounded. From a theoretical point of view, the prerequisites for vanity press are not found in scholarly publishing.  From an empirical point of view, current open-access journals display a pricing structure that does not indicate a vanity press industry, as we demonstrate below in a new analysis of OA publication fee data. Read the rest of this entry »