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FAQ

Collabra: Psychology

Q: Why is UC Press getting into Open Access?

Because the idea of Open Access—making important scientific and scholarly work accessible to anyone—aligns perfectly with our mission; to drive progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds and giving them voice, reach, and impact.

Q: What is Collabra? What is Collabra: Psychology?

Collabra: Psychology is our Open Access journal in the field of psychology. Collabra was the previous name for the journal when we were inviting submissions from more fields. Collabra will become a brand for our Open Access program of journals at UC Press, over time.

Q: How is Collabra: Psychology different?

Collabra: Psychology (previously Collabra) is the first Open Access journal created not only to share research but also the value contributed by the research community through the editorial and review process.

Collabra: Psychology will spread the value donated by the psychology research community, back to, and around, the psychology research community. It will help more Open Access publishing in lower-funded areas in psychology.

Q: Why launch another broad Open Access journal?

We believe Open Access publishing has enormous potential to improve the course of scholarly publishing, considering the benefits to dissemination, the benefits to transparency and openness, and the budgets/money under-utilized in the current scholarly publishing system. We believe our approach allows us to best showcase our revenue-sharing model, while offering flexibility and agility by smartly disseminating content to readers and offering post-publication services.

Q: How can I become involved in Collabra?

If you would like to be involved, or have any questions or suggestions about the journal, please contact Collabra: Psychology's Publisher — Dan Morgan. If you would like to secure an interview, or write about Collabra, please contact Peter Perez, Director of Public Relations and Communications.


Collabra: Psychology Process

Q: What are the acceptance criteria for Collabra: Psychology?

The journal’s review process will focus on scientific, methodological, and ethical rigor. While Collabra: Psychology editors and reviewers do not attempt to predict a submission’s impact to the field, nor employ any topic bias in accepting articles, they will check for rigorously and transparently conducted, statistically sound, adequately powered, and fairly analyzed research worthy of inclusion in the scholarly record.

Q: What Open Access license will Collabra use?

We will use the standard 4.0 CC-BY license. This is used by most open access journals, and complies with any institutional and funder mandates that currently exist.

Q: Will Collabra allow publication of reviewer reports?

Authors have the option of open peer review, whereby comments from the review process are published alongside their article, if it is accepted. Reviewers have the option of signing their reviews. An article could be published without reviewer reports, with anonymous reviewer reports, or with signed reviewer reports.


Editor & Reviewer Payment

Q: Why do you pay reviewers? This work is expected of scholars.

We describe it as sharing a variable portion of revenue with reviewer and editors, rather than payment for service. This model addresses the often-raised criticism within scholarly publishing that all value and revenue flows only to publishers. By assigning a certain percentage of the APCs for reviewers and editors, we are demonstrating tangibly that this stellar work has a value, and that we are all part of contributing this value.

Reviewers and editors get to decide what to do with this value, and only one of the options is electing to pay themselves. Editors and reviewers can also either pay these earnings forward to the Collabra Waiver Fund, or their institution's/ library’s OA fund. The journal model is not about paying editors and reviewers, but about directing some of the value generated back into the research community, which includes editors and reviewers.

Q: Doesn’t paying reviewers incentivize acceptance?

Emphatically no. Reviewers and editors share in the earnings regardless of the decisions they make on submissions. The percentage of Collabra APCs set aside for editors and reviewers goes into one large fund, out of which reviewers and editors will be paid in arrears for any and all work they have done on the journal, even work leading to a reject decision.

Q: Can’t reviewers accept invitations, or papers, just to make money?

No. The amounts in question paid to individuals are fairly low. It’s unlikely anyone will profit by reviewing papers, Similarly, no Editor would keep sending manuscripts to the same reviewer time and time again. Any reviewer generating sub-standard reviews, or exhibiting questionable motives for reviewing, is subject to the same editorial and journal oversight as on any journal. The Senior Editors and the Collabra: Psychology team will monitor this carefully.

Q: If you offer the opportunity for reviewers and editors to pay it forward, why not make this the default to avoid concerns?

While we hope people will pay their earnings forward, it’s not our decision. It’s up to the research community of reviewers and editors. It’s also not meant to be a mechanism for locking in people, or value, to Collabra: Psychology only. And, to be clear, your choice of receiving payment or paying forward is never made public.

Q: How are earnings calculated?

Editors and Reviewers receive points for all submissions they are involved with – regardless of whether a given article is accepted or rejected.

  • Senior Editors receive 1 point per submission they oversee.
  • Handling Editors receive 3 points per submission they accept/reject.
  • Reviewers receive 3 points per submission on which they recommend a decision.

A $250 share from each accepted article's $975 APC is placed in the Research Community Fund. Points are totaled and converted into a share of this fund every quarter. Since the fund is supported by APCs, and the number of people in the system every quarter will vary, the earnings amount will vary depending on article acceptance levels during each payment period.

Editors and reviewers decide what to do with their shares. They can elect to pay forward to the Collabra: Psychology Waiver Fund, pay forward to an institutional Open Access fund, or receive electronically as cash.


Article Processing Charges (APCs)

Q: What are the APCs for Collabra?

Our Article Processing Charges (APCs) are $975. Of that sum, $725 goes toward the publishing platform, the submission and review platform, editorial assistance from UC Press, marketing, and other operational costs. The remaining $250 is paid into an account from which funds are made available to editors and reviewers for all work on the journal—regardless of decisions to accept or reject articles.

Editors and reviewers can choose to either keep their earnings or pay them forward to the Collabra: Psychology Waiver Fund or to their library’s OA APC fund. The Collabra: Psychology Waiver Fund is there for authors who do not have the funds to pay the APCs.

Q: How can you offer publishing services at such a low price?

UC Press is a not-for-profit publisher and, as such, has no requirements to make or sustain profit margins for institutional or individual shareholders. And we don’t need Collabra: Psychology to fund or sustain other parts of our business, so our APCs only need to cover the costs of launching and maintaining the journal itself.

Q: How did you decide the total APCs amount and the percentage split between UC Press, as publisher, and the research community?

We carefully calculated how much we needed to reliably offer excellent publishing services. After this was finalized, we added on the amount for the research community, but aimed to keep the total APC under 1,000 USD as a good target for affordable Open Access publishing. It is important to note that the pricing was bottom-up based on costs, and not based on what other journals charge, nor on what the market can bear.

Q: If an author requests and is granted an APC waiver, does this article still generate value for editors and reviewers?

Yes, when we waive an APC, we actually pay the APC on the author’s behalf from the waiver fund (that’s topped up by any paid-forward earnings). We seeded this waiver fund at launch, so there was money available right away.

Q: What is your policy for granting APC waivers? 

Authors who are unable to pay the APC from grant funds, institutional funds, or other avenues should request waivers. Collabra: Psychology's model is built around the potential for generation, and renewal, of funds for Open Access and waivers. We intend this pay-it-forward system to help the wider research community and all Open Access publishing.