On Thursday my colleague alerted me to a new open access journal from the Company of Biologists called Biology Open. Today, after a four-day long weekend (thanks to the Royal Wedding and Mayday celebrations) one of the first emails I opened was an announcement about a new open access journal from the Royal Society called Open Biology. I thought I’d got confused or mis-remembered but after checking I can confirm that there are in fact two new journals launching with almost identical titles. There is a slight difference in addition to the word order: Biology Open is calling itself Biology Open (BiO).
You might think you have seen the title already, and you would be almost right. There is also The Open Biology Journal from the publishers Bentham Science (a rather less prestigious publishing house than the CoB or the RoySoc).
I naively wondered at first why we needed so many journals in the field of open biology but then I read the announcements a little more closely and realised that neither of the new journals (nor, indeed, the older Bentham Science journal) is devoted to “open biology”. Rather they are broad journals of biology that happen to be open access. It is the journal that is open rather than the biology. It´s a bit like the old days when people set up “The Internet Journal of XYZ”.
Open Biology will offer
rapid publication of research in cell biology, developmental and structural biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology and genetics.
Biology Open (BiO) will be publishing
original research across all aspects of the biological sciences including cell science, developmental biology and experimental biology.
So far, so similar. But whereas Biology Open (BiO) says it will focus on “the timely publication of sound research rather than that with perceived impact or importance”, Open Biology says that acceptance criteria will be “high quality, importance and originality”.
Librarian Charles Greenberg, author of the OpenBiomed blog, suggests that Biology Open (BiO) is in effect a PLoS ONE lookalike journal. Or perhaps a Biology Direct lookalike, though that BioMedCentral journal has not had such great success as the PLoS title so I don´t suppose anyone wants to look like it.
While I´m on the subject of new OA journals, here is another one. The Genetics Society of America have launched G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, which aims
to meet the need for rapid review and publication of high-quality foundational research, particularly research that generates large-scale datasets such as genome maps, genome-wide association and QTL studies, mutant screens, advances in methods and technology, and more.
The biggest question in my mind is whether those pipe symbols (|) are a necessary part of the name. How will Endnote etc cope with this journal name? I can´t help wondering what is wrong with good, old-fashioned commas. It also reminds me a bit of Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics, which is often known as just plain Proteins, leading to some confusion about its proper title.
That´s enough wittering about journal names from me. I´m sure an enormous amount of thought and effort goes into coming up with names for new journals, but sometimes we librarians despair of the end results.