Journal declarations of independence

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  • By a journal declaration of independence, we mean the resignation of editors from a journal in order to launch a comparable journal with a friendlier publisher or less-restrictive access policies. The kinds we are collecting for this list usually have two stages. First, an editor or group of editors resigns from a journal in order to protest its high subscription price or audience-limiting access rules. This is usually accompanied by a public statement explaining "the causes which impel them to the separation" (to quote Thomas Jefferson). Second, some of the resigning editors create a new free or affordable alternative journal to compete with the first and to embody their vision of wide access.
    • We include a few cases in which editors resigned en masse from a journal to protest restrictive access policies, but have not (or not yet) launched a new, less-restrictive journal.
  • We borrow the term "declaration of independence" for this phenomenon from the SPARC project to assist journals in Declaring Independence. Of course, SPARC borrowed the term from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
  • Chronological order.


  • In June 1989, Editor Eddy van der Maarel and most of his editorial board resigned from Vegetatio (W. Junk, then Nijhoff, then Kluwer) in order to launch the Journal of Vegetation Science (Opulus Press and the International Association for Vegetation Science).


  • In December 1996, Shu-Kun Lin resigned as editor of Molecules, then published by Springer-Verlag, and relaunched the journal with Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI). Springer sued to prevent Shu-Kun Lin from using the same name for the MDPI journal but eventually dropped its suit.


  • In November 1998, Michael Rosenzweig and the rest of his editorial board resigned from Evolutionary Ecology (Chapman & Hall, then International Thomson, now Kluwer), which Rosenzweig had launched in 1986, in order to create Evolutionary Ecology Research. Its birth and early survival were assisted by SPARC.



  • In January 2000 (to take effect in July 2000), Henry Hagedorn resigned as editor of the Archives of Insect Biochemistry & Physiology (Wiley-Liss) in order to form the Journal of Insect Science (originally, University of Arizona Library, now University of Wisconsin Library). JIS is a free online journal with no print edition. It is now supported entirely by the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library and charges no author-side fees. Its birth and early survival were assisted by SPARC.


  • Over a nine month period in 2001, forty editors of Machine Learning (Kluwer) resigned from the editorial board and published their reasons in a public letter dated October 8, 2001. One of those resigning, Leslie Pack Kaelbling, created the Journal of Machine Learning Research as a free online alternative with a quarterly print edition published by MIT Press. About two-thirds of the Machine Learning editors joined her at the new journal.


  • On September 22, 2003, Compositio Mathematica announced that it was leaving Kluwer to be published by the London Mathematical Society and distributed by Cambridge University Press (starting in January 2004). The journal's editor of 20+ years, Gerard van der Geer, explained in a public note that the move was triggered by a long series of unwanted Kluwer price increases. The LMS edition of the journal is not free, but priced one-third below the former price.
  • On December 31, 2003, the entire editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms resigned in order to protest the high price charged by the publisher (Elsevier). On January 21, 2004, the same board then launched a new journal, Transactions on Algorithms, published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).


  • On January 27, 2004, Editor in Chief Dominique Boullier and the entire editorial board of Les cahiers du numérique resigned from the journal and released an open letter explaining why. They point to CduN's high price and limited online access policy which "contradict our objectives as researchers".


  • In 2005, Editors Charles and Marie-Louise Steele, George Herrmann, and "21 of the 23 members of the IJSS board of editors" resigned from the International Journal of Solids and Structures (IJSS) because "there was no indication that the commercial publishers were reversing the pressure for increased profits out of the limited institutional resources." Details on the "Background of JoMMS" may be found in a comment from Charles Steele to a June 2006 iMechanica article.


  • On February 20, 2006, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) dismissed the journal's editor-in-chief John Hoey and editor Anne Marie Todkill. In response, there was "a mass exodus of journal staff, including most of the editorial board." See details provided here.


  • In June 2007, the Association for Symbolic Logic (ASL), having been dissatisfied with "unsatisfactory relations" with Springer, launched a "successor" journal to the Journal of Philosophical Logic with Cambridge University Press. For details on the Review of Symbolic Logic, see the ASL president Penelope Maddy's letter to the association's members below.
  • In August 2007, the editorial board of K-Theory resigned, citing Springer's exorbitant pricing structures and slow production times as the reasons for doing so. Unlike other similar declarations by editorial boards, this split was particularly contentious. Anthony Bak, one of the editors who resigned, withheld articles for publication in K-Theory for over a year, which he then offered publication in the newly created Journal of K-Theory (see linked texts below for additional information).



  • On October 18, 2012 (effective December 1, 2012), 25 members of the editorial board resigned from the journal, Organization & Environment.