The reason for the decline in submission for pioneering mega journals is the rise of competition in the open-access journal business, as observed by Public library of Science (PLOS) One, a pioneer in the mega-journal industry.
A mega journal is a platform where open access journals can be peer-reviewed for academic reference or future development.
PLOS One’s editor-in-chief revealed:
We once had our advantage as a first-mover, now it’s gone.
As a countermeasure, (PLOS One) is adding more services that can attract more researchers such as published peer review comments. Its founders envisioned the whole project as the future of scientific journals. It is probably the largest and most topic diverse compilation of scientific journals at that time.
The sheer volume has somewhat compromised the quality of the total output. Several journals were spotted to be duplicates and unimpressive, to say the least. PLOS One’s success paved the way to several competitions in the mega journal business.
Scientific reports dropped by 30%
One of the most successful mega journal companies which surpassed PLOS One in size was Scientific Reports. But as a newcomer, their article count dropped a huge count of 30% by next year. The decline in article count percentage per year has always been larger than the percentage uploaded on these mega journals.
Several clients expressed dissatisfaction on the level of performance these top tier companies are providing. Journal topics being uploaded aren’t getting that updated and relative for extensive scientific research purposes.
Mega journal publishers are slow to persuade excellent researchers that their method provides significant importance to the greater good of the scientific community. Yet, mega journals still thrive by maintaining their high acceptance rate of submitted manuscripts.
Creating an impression that there are numerous journals reference in their system but actually, a lot of those are replicated studies, failed journals, and with a low level of novelty.
Despite all of this, mega journals still earn a lot from publishing fees with (PLOS One) priced at $1595 per paper and something more expensive at $4500 per paper from Science Advances.
Adding more services to mega journals
The much worrying part here for major mega journal companies is the loss of interest by expert science researchers in their program.
The lack of specialized selection for journals doesn’t entice the interest of expert researchers. These frontiers of science prefer publishing their works on mega journals that focus on quality instead of quality.
They know that reader reviews from these mega journals are also with interest and at the same wavelength of their knowledge. As with all businesses, the decline in interest for mega journals is caused by the market choosing quality over quantity. Business mentality took over the passion for scientific learning.