The future of academic journals is at stake. There are various opinions and predictions about the future existence of the journal. With data resources as arXiv, advocates of open access, view ‘subject repository’ as announcing the demise of the scholarly journal. In addition, they have outlined ways on this platform for peer review to function.
Tim Gowers, a reputable British mathematician, has made a recent announcement of a new type of journal: The arXiv overlay journal, with emphasis on the word ‘overlay’. This indicates that the journal reviews papers from the preprint server and aims to return publishing to the hands of academics. Due to the necessity of the current digital age, this overlay journal can meet the needs of contemporary researchers that want to shorten the time lapse of actual publication, which takes months to years. Gowers indicates that after research this model is executable and believes that this model could be extended to other scientific fields than mathematics.
Robert Harington states in his article ‘What is an Academic Journal?’ that the overlay journal challenges the existing models of academic publishing and aims to contribute in a small way to creating an alternative and much cheaper system on which the preprint server can host and provide links to academic papers, such as arXiv does, and where researchers can submit their papers with the purpose of being evaluated by open peer review. He points out that many institutions are experimenting with new technologies, new business models and new publishing approaches in order to avoid the commercial pressures on scientific literature and to distance from paid peer review platforms. Does this mean that the end of commercial publication is near? Who knows?! But one thing is certain: it is time for a new business model in the publication business.