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When I am asked to provide a review for an Elsevier journal ...

Dear Editors,

Thank you for considering me as a reviewer for your journal. I am convinced that
peer-reviewing of research is fundamental for the development of science in
general. Therefore, I am grateful to journal editors like you for organizing and
monitoring the peer-review and I would gladly contribute to this process.

On the other hand, your journal belongs to the publisher Elsevier, who, as I see
it, actively hinders the development of science; Elsevier charges high prices
for subscriptions to "their" articles which for the research institutions means
either a significant drain of research funding money or an exclusion from a part
of general knowledge.

For this reason, I have signed the "Cost of Knowledge" [1] statement and for
this reason, I decline your invitation to provide a review. 

However, I am personally committed to contribute to any effort that truly
supports Open Access. If you as the editors are working towards a transition of
your journal to real Open Access, which among others would mean reasonable
article processing charges, I will be happy to accept the invitation. Also, I
understand that such a transition is not simply done together with Elsevier; cf.
the Lingua-Glossa story [2]. 

To give my share to smaller steps, I would also agree to review if you could
arrange for waiving the Open Access Publishing Fee for the article I would be

Best regards,

Jan Heiland


When we were asked to provide a review for an Bentham journal ...

Dear ,

Thank you for the invitation to review this paper.

I am in general a proponent of the Open Access model, but I have several
concerns about the way it is implemented by Bentham.

Firstly, looking at the next-to-last published volume of TOAUTOCJ I see no less
than 7 retractions, which is more than half of the articles in the volume. This
indicates to me that the review process is not functioning properly. A quick
online search demonstrates that this is an issue also of other Bentham journals,
where fake articles have been accepted. I would therefore like to know what
measures are being taken to remedy this situation, and to guarantee a high
standard of publishing?

Secondly, I am also concerned about the fact that this mail was not sent by a
member of the editorial board at TOAUTOCJ. Who is the editor, and did he/she
have a preliminary look at the paper in question? I have not read the article
(since it was not provided), but the given title and abstract indicates to me
that it does not contain any new or novel results.

Finally, the article fees of 925 USD (or 880, in the FAQ) are high. I realize
that providing open access to articles costs money, but according to general
considerations and the experience of SCIELO [1], a reasonable fee is around 200
USD. To me, this therefore seems that TOAUTOCJ’s first purpose is making money
rather than facilitating science which makes me reluctant to contribute to it.

Should you provide me with good answers to the issues raised above, I will
consider refereeing the given paper.

Best regards,


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To the extent possible under law, Jan Heiland has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

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