Springer Nature, which places a strong emphasis on its Open Access and Open Research publishing, has been forced to defend its position after researchers in the Artificial Intelligence field vowed to boycott a new journal which is not being published OA.
Nature Research is due to launch the Machine Intelligence Journal in January 2019.
Over 2,000 researchers have added their names for a statement from Oregon State University's Professor Thomas Dietterich pledging "not submit to, review, or edit for this new journal".
Forbes.com points out that the signatories include many AI specialists from the big tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, with Facebook's director of AI research Professor Yann LeCun, and Google's AI expert Jeff Dean among them.
Dietterich's statement says: "We see no role for closed access or author-fee publication in the future of machine learning research and believe the adoption of this new journal as an outlet of record for the machine learning community would be a retrograde step. In contrast, we would welcome new zero-cost open access journals and conferences in artificial intelligence and machine learning."
Springer Nature commented: "At Springer Nature we are very clear in our mission to advance discovery and helping researchers share their work. Having an extensive, and growing, open access portfolio is one important way we do this but it is important to remember that while open access has been around for 20 years now it still only accounts for a small percentage of overall global research output with demand for subscription content remaining high. This is because the move to open access is complex, and for many, simply not a viable option.
"Nature Machine Intelligence is a new subscription journal which aims to stimulate cross-disciplinary interactions, reach broad audiences and explore the impact that AI research has on other fields by publishing high quality research, reviews and commentary on machine learning, robotics and AI. It involves substantial editorial development, offers high levels of author service and publishes informative, accessible content beyond primary research all of which requires considerable investment. At present, we believe that the fairest way of producing highly selective journals like this one and ensuring their long-term sustainability as a resource for the widest possible community, is to spread these costs among many readers — instead of having them borne by a few authors."
The publisher added: "We also offer multiple open access options for AI authors. We already publish AI papers in Scientific Reports and Nature Communications, which are the largest open access journal in the world and the most cited open access journal respectively. We offer hybrid publishing options and are set to launch a new AI multidisciplinary, open access journals later this year.
"We help all researchers to freely share their discoveries by encouraging preprint posting and data- and code-sharing and continue to extend access to all Nature journals in various ways, including our free SharedIt content-sharing initiative, which provides authors and subscribers with shareable links to view-only versions of published papers."