JoVE goes closed access
This is a pretty important development, possibly a set-back, on the frontiers of scientific communication and the future of publishing. Obviously, the debate regarding open access has raged on in a variety of places, and certainly, this recent
lack of announcement by JoVE will ignite those flames again.
Nevertheless, the most peculiar thing about the whole move is the way in which it went down and was revealed to the public. Basically, it was done on the sly. One day you had free access, and the next you were asked for $1000s. For a journal priding themselves on clear communication of scientific concepts and protocols, JoVE certainly didn’t apply those principles to its business dealings. Regardless of the reasons to go closed, and they have every right to do so, this decision should have been made more openly, with the leaders of the journal clearly making their case and revealing their short- and long-term future plans for their journal’s business model.
As evident from a commenting thread on friendfeed, even those closely working with JoVE only found out about this by either not having access to documents, or simply by reading the friendfeed comment thread. Given the amount of support and cheerleading that has been done on behalf of JoVE by those prominent in the Open-Access community, these closed-door decisions and the lack of courtesy to at least release an official announcement
downright sucks will not leave many feeling too sympathetic for JoVE as it attempts to re-brand and alter its business model.