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.
- 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).
- (old journal, new name) Plant Ecology
- (new journal) Journal of Vegetation Science (inactive link; now published here)
- Robert Peet's brief account of the background.
- Van der Maarel's statement on the background of his resignation. November 8, 1998.
- Van der Maarel's editorial for the first issue Journal of Vegetation Science (February 1990) on the need for the new journal. (Copy via JSTOR)
- JVS became a SPARC partner in March 2002.
- 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 1998 most of the editorial board of the Journal of Academic Librarianship resigned to protest the large hike in the subscription price imposed by Pergamon-Elsevier after it bought the journal from JAI Press. Several of the editors who resigned then created Portal: Libraries and the Academy at Johns Hopkins University Press.
- (old journal) Journal of Academic Librarianship.
- (new journal) Portal: Libraries and the Academy.
- Gloriana St. Clair's statement in Portal 1.1 on the need for Portal. Accessible only to paid MUSE subscribers.
- Steve McKinzie and Jocelyn Godolphin's comments on the resignations
- Tony Seward's reply and correction to McKenzie's comments.
- Coverage in FOSN for 10/26/01.
- In November 1999, the entire 50 person editorial board of the Journal of Logic Programming (Elsevier) resigned and formed a new journal, Theory and Practice of Logic Programming (Cambridge). 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.
- Elsevier has published the European Economic Review since 1969. In 1986 the European Economic Association (EEA) adopted it as its official journal. But the EEA grew increasingly unhappy with Elsevier's subscription price and its requirement that the publisher, not the association, hire the journal's editors. In 2001 the EEA started the process of declaring independence from Elsevier. In March 2003 its new official journal, the Journal of the European Economic Association, was launched by MIT Press at about one-third of the Elsevier subscription price.
- (old journal) European Economic Review
- (new journal) Journal of the European Economic Association
- European Economic Association
- The JEEA's page on its history and decision to break with Elsevier.
- Coverage in the March 21, 2003 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (story accessible only to CHE subscribers).
- On July 3, 2003, The entire 40+ person editorial board Labor History (Taylor and Francis) resigned in protest over the journal's high subscription price and lack of editorial independence. The same editors then launched Labor with non-profit Duke University Press. Labor is a partner of SPARC, which assisted in the transition and launch.
- (old journal) Labor History
- (new journal) Labor: Studies in Working Class History in the Americas
- SPARC press release
- On August 13, 2003, the Society for the Internet in Medicine named the open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research as its new official journal, replacing the subscription-based Medical Informatics & Internet in Medicine. (This is a decision by a scholarly society, not journal editors, but we include it on the list because of the family resemblance to a true declaration of independence.)
- 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).
- (old journal) Journal of Algorithms (Elsevier)
- (new journal) Transactions on Algorithms (ACM)
- Letter from Donald E. Knuth to fellow members of the Journal of Algorithms editorial board outlining the problem, describing the open-access solution, and asking them to choose among four options.
- Public statement by the former Journal of Algorithms editors explaining their resignation. Slated to appear in the March 2004 issue of SIGACT News.
- Hal Gabow has the dates and some other details on his home page.
- George Porter discusses some of the aftermath in a May 14, 2004 STLQ blog posting.
- 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.
- (old journal) Canadian Medical Association Journal
- (new journal) Open Medicine
- Editorial on need for autonomy on the part of CMAJ's editorial board, following the loss of Hoey and Todkill.
- Letter from CMAJ's remaining editors regarding the dismissal.
- Article about the launch of Open Medicine.
- Coverage in OAN for July 15, 2006.
- On August 10, 2006, the editorial board of Topology resigned (effective December 31, 2006) over concerns about the high price charged by the journal's publisher (Elsevier).
- (old journal) Topology
- (new journal) Journal of Topology
- Letter from the editorial board announcing the resignations, August 10, 2006. (Another copy.)
- Response from Elsevier, October 24, 2006.
- Also see two replies to Elsevier from Dev Sinha, November 2006.
- Announcement of the launch of the new journal (includes a statement on pricing policy), January 17, 2007.
- Find news about the resignation in the following: August 10, 2006 blog post by Peter Woit, October 26, 2006 article in the New York Sun, October 27, 2006 ACRLog post, November 10, 2006 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (accessible only to subscribers), January 25, 2007 article in Nature, and May 2007 issue of the Notices of the AMS.
- Coverage in OAN for October 26, 2006. Further details noted in OAN for October 27, 2006.
- 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).
- (old journal) K-Theory (Springer) (now defunct)
- (new journal) Journal of K-Theory (Cambridge University Press) (now defunct)
- Editorial Board's statement of the reason for their resignation, posted on Peter Woit's blog.
- Chronicle of Higher Education article on the controversy surrounding the establishment of the Journal of K-Theory.
- K-Theory's Wolfgang Lueck and Andrew Ranicki released a statement following Anthony Bak's resignation and the ensuing conflict over missing papers, and Anthony Bak responded to these concerns, which is detailed in Peter Woit's blog.
- Coverage in OAN from August 10, 2007. Coverage in Not Even Wrong for August 17, 2007. Coverage in Nature from August 23, 2007.
- See the entry for 2014 below. The Journal of K-Theory itself was the subject to a later declaration of independence. This is the first time that a journal set up a declaration of independence was taken down by a later declaration of independence.
- In 2008, Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure stopped publishing with Elsevier and moved to Société Mathématique de France as a publisher. There is no declaration of independence available.
- (old journal) Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure
- (new journal) Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure
- Find a brief note on the journal's change in publisher in Peter Woit's blog.
- Coverage in OAN from August 10, 2007.
- On October 18, 2012 (effective December 1, 2012), 25 members of the editorial board resigned from the journal, Organization & Environment.
- (old journal) Organization & Environment (from Sage Publications)
- See the editors' statement of the reasons for their resignation, Sage's response to the editors' statement (quoted in a news story in Inside Higher Ed), and the editors' response to Sage's response.
- Coverage in Inside Higher Ed and Monthly Review.
- On March 23, 2013, the entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration resigned.
- 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.
- On October 27, 2015, the entire editorial board of Lingua resigned.
- (old journal) Lingua (from Elsevier)
- (new journal) Glossa (from Ubiquity Press, and five years later, the Open Library of Humanities)
- The editors' October 7, 2015, attempt to negotiate with Elsevier prior to resigning.
- Announcement on Facebook, October 27, 2015.
- Also see the interview with Anne-Michelle Tessier (November 24, 15), an associate editor of Lingua, on the decision of the editors to resign.
- Coverage in Inside Higher Ed, Ars Technica, The Australian, Fortune, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Wired.
- Statement of support for the editors by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and coverage by Inside Higher Ed.
- Statement of support by ARL, AASCU, ACE, CARL, COAR, EDUCAUSE, and SPARC, and coverage by Inside Higher Ed.
- Statement by Elsevier, November 4, 2015.
- Follow-up coverage by Inside Higher Ed and Language Log
- Follow-up analysis by Cameron Neylon
- In 2016, Zoological Studies left Springer to join the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
- May 2017 : The journal Sociologie du travail has terminated the contract it has had with Elsevier since 1999 and is moving to a fully digital form of Open Access on OpenEdition. Press release. Website : http://sdt.revues.org/
- On July 27, 2017 the four editors-in-chief and nearly all the members of the editorial board of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics announced that they would resign as of December 31, 2017, in order to launch a new OA journal to be called Algebraic Combinatorics and operated under the Fair Open Access Principles.
- 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.
- (old journal) Diversity and Distributions (from Wiley)
- (new journal) TBD
- See the letter from the editors, January 9, 2019 (perma.cc link). More precisely, the letter is from "a large group of scientists [in the journal's field], including 40 of the [journal's] associate editors."
- See the letter from Wiley, January 9, 2019 (perma.cc link).
- See Twitter coverage, here and here.
- January 14, 2019: Editors of Elsevier's Journal of Informetrics resigned en masse and launched the OA alternative, Quantitative Science Studies with MIT Press.
- (old journal) Journal of Informetrics (from Elsevier)
- (new journal) Quantitative Science Studies (from MIT Press; CC-BY, 6-800 $ APC)
- See the letter from Elsevier (perma.cc link) to the editors, attempting to answer their concerns (October 8, 2018). Also see Elsevier's public response (perma.cc link) to the resignations (January 15, 2019).
- See the letter of resignation (perma.cc link) from the editors (January 10, 2019).
- See the announcement (perma.cc link) from the non-profit International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI), which formerly supported the Journal of Informetrics and now launches (and owns) Quantitative Science Studies (January 14, 2019).
- See the announcement (perma.cc link) from MIT Press (January 14, 2019), and the announcement (perma.cc link) from MIT itself (January 18, 2019).
- See Ludo Waltman et al., Opening science: The rebirth of a scholarly journal, Quantitative Science Studies, February 20, 2020 (perma.cc link).
- September 2019: Editors of Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte announce their mass resignation, to take effect at the end of the year, and intention to launch an open-access, successor journal.
- (old journal) Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte (from Deutscher Kunstverlag)
- (new journal) 21: Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual
- See the announcement in English (perma.cc link) by Beate Fricke, Ursula Frohne, Johannes Grave and Michael F. Zimmermann, as well as the cofounders of the new journal, Karen Lang and Avinoam Shalem.
- See the coverage by Michael Baumann (perma.cc link), December 5, 2019.
- 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.
- (old journal) European Law Journal (from Wiley)
- (new journal) European Law Open published with Cambridge University Press. An APC-OA fully open access journal with "a fee waiver system in place for unfunded authors".
- See the announcement by the editorial and advisory boards, January 31, 2020 (perma.cc link). (Another copy.)
- 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) (perma.cc link)
- (new journal) [watch this space]
- See the open letter from the resigning members of the editorial board (perma.cc 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.
- (old journal) Journal of Combinatorial Theory A (from Elsevier)
- (new journal) Combinatorial Theory (from the University of California eScholarship Publishing program)
- See Tim Gowers' announcement on Twitter, September 13, 2020, and the comments it triggered.
- See the blog post by Victor Reiner, interim editor of Combinatorial Theory, September 13, 2020 (perma.cc link).
- Combinatorial Theory published its first issue December 15, 2021. The same announcement describes how the journal is funded.
- 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 (perma.cc 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."
- July 5, 2023, all 47 editors of Critical Public Health resigned to protest the journal's high APC and the editorial board's limited ability to set the journal's direction.