Journal declarations of independence

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This list is part of the Open Access Directory.

  • 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 SPARC's 2001 project to assist journals in Declaring Independence (revived in 2018). Of course, SPARC borrowed the term from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
  • This list started as a non-wiki list maintained by Peter Suber, who moved it to OAD in April 2008.
  • For data how the new journals fare, after editors resign from an older journal in order to launch the new one, see Mark Wilson, What happens to journals that break away? October 8, 2016. (Preview: Most new journals do better than the old journals.)
  • Related lists in OAD: Journals that converted from TA to OA.
  • For real-time updates, some not yet reflected here, follow the oa.declarations_of_independence tag of the Open Access Tracking Project.
  • Wikidata identifier for this page: Q56229222.
  • Also see the Mass Resignations List from Retraction Watch.
  • 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 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.



  • 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 these details.


  • 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 September 15, 2014, 16 of the 19 editors of the Journal of K-Theory went on strike, demanding that the owner and chief editor, Anthony Bak, keep his promise and hand over the profits of the journal, to be used to fund scientific activities such as conferences. He refused, and they resigned, effective at end of 2014. The resigning editors formed a new journal, Annals of K-Theory, and Cambridge University Press stopped publishing the Journal of K-Theory. Annals of K-Theory is owned by the K-Theory Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, and is published by Mathematical Sciences Publishers, also a non-profit. Annals is not open access.
    • (old journal) Journal of K-Theory (Cambridge University Press)
    • (new journal) Annals of K-Theory (K-Theory Foundation and Mathematical Sciences Publishers)
    • Also see the resignation letter of the 16 editors, November 5, 2014.
    • See the entry for 2007 above. The Journal of K-Theory itself was established in the wake of a declaration of independence. This is the first time that a journal set up by a declaration of independence was taken down by a later declaration of independence.





  • November 2018 (ongoing, to be confirmed): Wiley forces the journal Diversity and Distributions to switch to a 2200 $ APC and prevents the publication of a letter approved by Editor-in-chief, Janet Franklin. Franklin and academic editors resign en masse.



  • January 31, 2020, the editorial board and advisory board of the European Law Journal resigned en masse to launch a new journal in the same niche under a different title.
  • August 25, 2020, the editorial board of the Journal of Field Robotics resigned in order to preserve its academic independence and relaunch an equivalent journal without paywalls.
    • (old journal) Journal of Field Robotics (from Wiley) ( link)
    • (new journal) [watch this space]
    • See the open letter from the resigning members of the editorial board ( link). "In the near future we will announce a new forum for research in Field Robotics that will maintain the academic integrity of our editorial process while also ensuring open dissemination of your research."
  • December 31, 2020, most members of the editorial board of Journal of Combinatorial Theory A resigned en masse to launch a new OA journal on the same topic.


  • April 2023, all the 40+ editors of NeuroImage resigned in order to protest the journal's high APC and launch a new OA journal.
    • (old journal) NeuroImage (from Elsevier)
    • (new journal) Imaging Neuroscience (from MIT Press)
    • See the open letter from the resigning editors ( link). "Elsevier has set the NeuroImage APC (article processing charge) at $3,450 USD. Compared against this, estimates ofdirect article costs at relevant journals are generally around $1,000 or lower. Scientists and funders increasingly feel that it is wrong for publishers to make such high profits, particularly given that the publishers do not fund the original science, or the writing of articles, or payments to reviewers, and pay minimal editorial stipends. As a result, authors and reviewers are increasingly refusing to work with high-profit journals."
  • April 2023, Wiley fired the founding editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy, which led many other editors to resign in protest. In early 2024 they announced that they had launched a new OA journal in the same field.


  • May 22, 2024 all 38 editors of Philosophy and Public Affairs resigned en masse to launch a new open-access journal on the same topics.
    • (old journal) Philosophy and Public Affairs (from Wiley)
    • (new journal) TBA, from the Open Library of Humanities.
    • See the unanimous public statement (also here) from the editors explaining their resignation from the Wiley journal and plans for a new no-APC open-access journal, May 22, 2024 ( link). "We take this step because we believe that scholarly journals — including our own — serve important purposes, and that these purposes are not well-served by commercial publishing. For three decades now, academic journals have suffered from their ownership by for-profit publishers, who have exploited their monopoly position to sharply raise prices, unduly burdening subscribing libraries and shutting out other institutions and individuals from access to research. The recent rise of the author-funded “open access” model has only reinforced academic inequality, since scholars with access to fewer resources are unable to pay the fees that make their work freely accessible; it has also incentivized commercial publishers to try to publish as many articles as possible and so to pressure rigorous journals to weaken or abandon their quality controls."
    • See the separate resignation statement of Anna Stilz, the Philosophy and Public Affairs editor-in-chief, June 11, 2024 ( link).