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Ocean Science (OS) is an international open-access scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications, and review papers on all aspects of ocean science: experimental, theoretical, and laboratory. The primary objective is to publish a very high-quality scientific journal with free Internet-based access for researchers and other interested people throughout the world.
Electronic submission of articles is used to keep publication costs to a minimum. The costs will be covered by a moderate per-page charge paid by the authors. The peer-review process also makes use of the Internet. It includes an 8-week online discussion period with the original submitted paper and all comments. If accepted, the final revised paper will be published online. For libraries, hard-copy volumes containing the final papers will be available at minimum cost.
Ocean Science covers the following fields:
Ocean Science aims to be one of the leaders in the modern generation of open-access journals. Much of the literature about such journals is available on the Internet, and links to many of the main sources are given below. One of the aims of open-access publishing is to make scientific developments available to people, rich or poor, all over the world as efficiently as possible. This aim underlies many of the initiatives and statements such as those of Budapest, Berlin, and Bethesda.
A second, related, aim is to use computer developments and the Internet to keep the costs of scientific publication affordable. This topic is discussed in publications from the Wellcome Trust and the House of Commons Committee in the UK. Both are concerned by the power of established publishers in controlling the market and by the reluctance of scientists to move to open-access publishing.
One concern of scientists is that new journals might have a lower scientific standard than traditional ones and that their impact factors are low. However Nature (2001) reported that online journals were soon obtaining high citation scores and that is the experience of the EGU.
Open access also allows us to introduce new systems of submission and reviewing. There are concerns about the effectiveness of the present review system – the reviewers' lack of experience in some key areas may allow publication of papers with significant errors. There have also been concerns of referees sitting on papers so that publication is delayed and authors therefore losing priority of publication.
To tackle these problems, Ocean Science is using the two-stage publication scheme developed by Copernicus Publications and the European Geosciences Union. After a brief review by the topic editor to check that they are suitable, submitted articles are published in Ocean Science Discussions. This publication can be cited in questions of priority.
The paper is then formally reviewed in the traditional way by at least two reviewers. The reviews are published and other scientists and the authors can make and publish their own comments to aid the review process. Finally, all of these comments are used to decide whether the paper needs revision or whether it can be published directly in the full review journal Ocean Science.
There is no doubt that the open-access model will develop further in the future. We plan to be closely involved in such developments. At the same time we want to use new technology to encompass both integrated views and detailed studies within the same high-quality ocean science journal.