Future of the Geochemical Society’s Journal


Scientific publishing is currently undergoing a major transition, with the change to open access representing a significant shift in the financial models of the major publishers. In this context, it is important to assure that scientists and their home institutions do not end up losing out, i.e., that scientists should not have to pay more to read and publish papers than they do currently.

The Geochemical Society and the Meteoritical Society have had a longstanding, productive partnership with Elsevier regarding our official journal, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Recently, however, a number of institutions (e.g., those in Germany, Sweden, and now the University of California system) have dropped subscriptions to Elsevier and other major journal publishers over unresolved disputes of balancing institutional subscription fees against open access charges. The unfortunate consequence is that about 8% of GS members do not currently have access to GCA through institutional subscriptions*, and this number may grow.

In light of these developments, the society is seeking members' input. The journal GCA is owned by Elsevier, not the societies. Thus, if the Society should decide not to continue working with Elsevier after the current contract expires on December 31, 2020, GCA would continue to be published by Elsevier without any benefit to, or affiliation with, the GS. Any new Society journal would have to be a new undertaking with a different title.

The current fee for providing open access to an article in GCA is US $3,150 per paper. This is similar to open access fees assessed by other journals (see table below) and is likely to be similar for any new, high quality journal.

*GS members may purchase individual subscriptions for $115 (professional) or $56 (student)

Open Access (OA) fees for 2019

JournalPublisher2018 Impact FactorPer Article Processing Charge% OA published in journal
Chemical Geology Elsevier 3.618 $1,950  7%
Geology GSA 5.006 $2,500  30%
Economic Geology Society of Economic Geologists 3.285 $3,000  11%
GCA Elsevier 4.690 $3,150  10%
Journal of Petrology OUP 3.380 $3,150  39%
EPSL Elsevier 4.637 $3,200  12%
G-cubed AGU/Wiley 2.946 $3,500  21%
Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology Springer Nature 3.230 $3,760  23%
Environmental Science & Technology ACS 7.149 $4,000  11%

Current Financial Agreement

As part of the contract with Elsevier, the GS receives royalty payments that total around 15 to 20% of the Society's annual, non-Goldschmidt related expenses. Elsevier contributes an additional £12,000 annually (approximately US$15K) intended specifically for society awards, which the GS has chosen to use for Goldschmidt Conference travel grants for students and early career scientists from low-income countries.

Your Input

In consideration of the changing scientific publishing landscape, we are soliciting members' input to allow the Society to make informed decisions about how our publishing practices should evolve in the future.

Please note that this topic will be discussed at the annual business meeting of the GS, which will be held Wednesday, August 21, from 19:00 to 20:00 in the VIP room of the Barcelona Convention Centre. We encourage all members to attend if you are planning to be at the Goldschmidt meeting. We are seeking input from all members prior to this meeting via this short survey.

Take the Survey

If at all possible, please send your responses by August 10, 2019 so we have to time to compile them before the business meeting. If you cannot complete the survey by this date, your responses are nevertheless welcome, as this is an ongoing issue.