The open access initiative has been making waves for years. Publishing important research material quickly and freely with universal access is appealing to Academics and the general public alike. With the introduction of Plan S, the push to create open access availability for all journals is at its peak, and with that momentum, mirror journals were born. These specialty journals make open access available for subscription-based journals, giving even more options for researchers submitting manuscripts. But how are these mirror journals different than their parent journal, what are the advantages to publishing with a mirror journal, and what are some of the hang-ups with this new form of open access?
Mirror journals operate with a gold open access model and publish Academic material freely for anyone to access at any time. This new form of open access publishing launched in 2018 with increasing interest. Like hybrid open access journals, mirror journals are an open access version of a subscription-based journal. However, while a hybrid journal is the same journal, a mirror journal is indexed under a separate ISSN and EISSN, and an “X” is suffixed in the title. Authors submit manuscripts to one journal site and right before acceptance, authors can choose whether they would like their articles to be in the parent journal or the mirror journal, simplifying the submission process. The materials published in a mirror journal are not the same as its subscription-based counterpart and they have their own CiteScore and Impact Factor, but the editorial board, aims and scope, and peer review practices are the same.
The ongoing demand for research to become available through open access is changing the way that publications and researchers approach how they issue their articles. It can be frustrating for a researcher when they find the perfect journal to submit to, but it is not available with open access like they want. Though the ISSNs are different, a mirror journal and its counterpart are essentially the same. Mirror journals help to provide an open access option for journals that are otherwise subscription-based, creating more opportunities for researchers to get exactly what they want. Financially, it makes sense for publishers to create these mirror journals, because they will profit from access to the subscription-based journal as well as the open access. It also allows publishers to corner the market and meet the needs of the Academic, while foregoing the need to launch a completely new open access journal.
Mirror journals offer researchers a choice between subscription-based and open access publishing, but journals that have adapted mirror journals are receiving backlash for “double-dipping.” Publishers will receive payment for access to their subscription-based journal, then again when collecting the payments from authors to publish open access in their mirror journal. In other words, publishers are profiting twice from one journal. These journals are also a direct result of Plan S, which is a movement that requires all publicly funded research projects to be published as open access. Mirror journals are a sort of loophole to this rule, and as such some researchers perceive this move as sneaky.
Mirror journals aim to create open access opportunities for all journals, no matter if they’re subscription-based or not. Have you considered submitting your manuscript with an open access publication? Making sure your document is clean, clear, and free of errors is key in streamlining the submission process. Consider having your manuscript checked for spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, consistency, and flow issues with eContent Pro’s professional English language copy editing service!