Natural Products and Bioprospecting – publishing natural product research fully open access

Some time ago I have mused where to submit my next manuscript. Yesterday I have decided in favor of the journal Natural Products and Bioprospecting (and luckily my co-authors did not oppose).

I have been a bit skeptical at first (also after reading the Instructions for Authors at that time, but that is another story – let bygones be bygone…). Because of my doubts I have contacted several members of the Editorial Board that I know. All of them have spoken highly of the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Jikai Liu, as well as the project in general. I also contacted Prof. Liu himself, and he was able to ease my mind.

I think it is great that this journal offers an OA and CC-BY publication model to the natural product research community free-of-charge. I really do appreciate this initiative and think that the Editor-in-Chief has done a great work in realizing this idea.

Now the Natural Product Research community has to be made aware of this journal, so that it gets more widely known!

How “open” are natural product scientists? Part II – Journals

I am currently preparing a manuscript on some isolation and structure elucidation work. It is nothing too thrilling, not even bioactivity will be reported. That is the drawback of working in industry – the really interesting projects must be kept secret. But I love to publish, and so I take the opportunity when I can. Even if the paper will only be of interest to a few fans of cyanobacterial metabolites…

When I got aware of „Open“, I promised myself to publish my coming papers Open Access only. So where should I publish this manuscript? My first thought was PLoS ONE. But as I said, the work is of rather narrow interest, so I think it is not worthy to be published in PLoS ONE, although I have spotted some natural product papers there. Perhaps next time, when I have more to say. For today, let us have a look at my list of natural product research related journals and see if some of these journal might fit.

What are my criteria? First of all, Open Access. Second, the journal should be indexed at least at Chemical Abstracts and PubMed Central – I do not fancy „Google Scholar only indexing“. These two criteria already narrow the choice down to nine journals that would be suitable for classical analytical natural product work:

Journal Publisher Costs
Fitoterapia Elsevier 3000 USD
Journal of Asian Natural Products Research Taylor&Francis 2950 USD
marine drugs MDPI 1800 CHF
molecules MDPI 1800 CHF
Natural Product Research Taylor&Francis 2950 USD
Natural Products and Bioprospecting Springer free
Phytochemistry Elsevier 3000 USD
Journal  of Natural Products ACS 1000-3000 USD
Toxicon Elsevier 3000 USD

Wow. Why does it cost 2000-3000 USD to publish a manuscript OA?! I cannot believe that my manuscript and the surrounding supportive work cause almost a whole month’ work. None of the publishers in this list – in contrast to PLoS ONE – offers a fee waiver on their website, except the ACS, where some discounts for ACS member and subscribing institutions are available.

This might be OK for big industry or well-funded academic groups. But I am doing 95% of the research I publish in my free time. The CEO of the company I work at really supports my scientific work, which I do highly appreciate. But convincing him to spend 3000 USD for a single publication just because I am an OA freak? No way! And I do not have these funds, either. Four hungry kids to feed – 3000 USD for a publication?! My wife would not be too happy… 😉

Well, there is one journal that is publishing OA free of charge. The journal „Natural Products and Bioprospecting“. What about this one?

Cons:

  • The journal is very young and not that many papers have been published to date.
  • They seem to publish very rapidly (Is it possible to do a full peer review process within 2 weeks? Most of the papers seem to be at about 4-8 weeks, though, which is still rapid but OK…).
  • It is not yet indexed by PubMed Central (but they assured me that they work on this).
  • Most of the members of the editorial board have not published in the journal, yet.

Pros:

  • It is OA free-of-charge (fully sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Science).
  • It is published by a recognized publisher (Springer).
  • It is good to support young journals with a good concept (in this case Natural Products + Open Access)
  • I know some of the editorial board members personally and do not think they would give themselves away for a dump journal.

Taken everything together, I am not sure yet whether the pros or the cons weight heavier. I will surely have a closer look at the journal and perhaps I will decide to submit my next manuscript there…

 

List of natural product research related journals, bloggers and tweeters – reloaded

For the original Natural Product Forum I had compiled a list of journals, bloggers and tweeters covering natural product research. This list can now be found here.

If you find some journal / blogger / tweeter is missing but should be on the must-read-list of any natural product scientist, please comment – I will then add your suggestion to the list, keeping it up to date.