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European Geosciences Union

Changes for EGU interactive journals: new library and payment concept

25 September 2015

From January 2016 onwards, most EGU journals will see changes to the way their papers are archived and paid for. The new concept emphasises that discussion papers are manuscripts under review and connects final revised papers with their corresponding discussion papers in a more clear and consistent way.

The EGU, through Copernicus Publications, publishes 17 open access journals, most of which have a two-stage publication concept with public peer review and interactive public discussion. The discussion and peer-review of submitted papers are handled in the open access discussion forums (e.g., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions), while final papers, upon acceptance, appear in the corresponding peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics). This means that, at present, each paper published in an EGU interactive peer-reviewed journal has a companion paper that was published in the corresponding discussion forum prior to peer review.

The EGU Publications Committee has recognised the need to make it clearer that the discussion paper is simply an intermediate step within the peer-review process. As a result, Copernicus is implementing a series of changes to the current library and payment model of EGU publications.

New library concept

One of these is that the discussion papers of manuscripts submitted to EGU interactive journals will no longer go through typesetting and proofreading, and will look more like a pre-print paper. The discussion paper will be the PDF uploaded by the author, with an added header and footer indicating the journal to which the manuscript was submitted for review. The manuscript will still be citable, but the citation (which will appear on the footer of the author’s PDF) will indicate the paper is in review.

In addition, discussion papers will no longer be archived in an online library with volumes and issues and separate from the peer-reviewed papers’ online library. A final revised paper and its corresponding discussion paper are archived together: a main page within the journal that includes, in separate tabs, all the information relating to the paper, such as metrics, related articles, and – importantly – the list of peer-review comments and the discussion paper.

Copernicus is introducing a new ‘Assets’ tab as well, which is a one-stop resource for different materials relating to the paper. These can include maps of the research area, data sets, samples, videos, among others.

New payment concept

The new overall concept that sees a discussion paper as only a manuscript under review and, as such, an intermediate step in the peer-review process, also requires payment changes. In the future, there will no longer be charges for discussion papers; instead the article processing charges (APCs) will be levied for the publication of the final revised paper.

At present, EGU interactive journals have a non-standard payment concept, with authors paying APCs for the discussion paper rather than for the final peer-reviewed article. For most EGU journals, APCs are currently €25 euros per discussion page for manuscripts submitted using the Copernicus LaTeX package (‘Category 1’ manuscripts). The discussion-paper style results in three times more pages than the classic manuscript style, and tables and figures are counted as extra pages (due to the discussion-paper format) when calculating the total cost of publishing a paper. For example:

A manuscript contains 10 pages with 57,000 characters, 2 figures, and 1 table. The discussion paper will have 30 pages text + 1 page table + 2 pages figures. For Category 1, this will result in 33 pages × €25 = €825 net + 19% German VAT.

In the new model, the APCs increase threefold to account for the fact that they will be charged per manuscript page, rather than per discussion page. But the overall cost of publishing a paper will be roughly the same, depending on tables and figures, because there are three times fewer pages in a paper in classic manuscript style than in one in discussion-paper style. Using the example above in the new payment model:

A manuscript contains 10 pages with 57,000 characters, and an additional page with 2 figures and 1 table. For Category 1, this will result in 11 pages × €75 = €825 net + 19% German VAT.

These changes apply for all papers published after 1 January 2016 to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT), Biogeosciences (BG), Climate of the Past (CP), Geoscientific Model Development (GMD), Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS), Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS), Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG), Ocean Science (OS), Solid Earth (SE) and The Cryosphere (TC). For Earth System Dynamics (ESD), in which APCs are currently waived, the changes will be applied (with reduced APCs) for papers submitted from 1 January 2016. For Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf) and Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems (GI), in which APCs are also currently waived, the changes will apply for papers submitted after 1 July 2016, while SOIL will continue waiving APCs for another year or two.