“Journal of Informetrics (JOI) was created in 2006 to serve the dynamic, interdisciplinary, and rapidly growing field of informetrics (Egghe, 2005, 2006a, 2006b, 2015). Leo Egghe, the founding Editor-in-Chief of JOI, attributed this growth to the increasing attraction of “scientists from fields such as mathematics, physics and computer sciences, thereby considerably increasing the number of researchers engaged in informetrics” (Egghe, 2006b, p. 4) as well as “the vast increase of the ways in which electronic information is created, distributed and used” (Egghe, 2006b, p. 3). Almost fifteen years later, the developments that Egghe observed have transformed not only the field of informetrics, but the entire scholarly dissemination ecosystem.
In 2006, green open access publishing was marginal outside of a few discrete disciplines, such as physics and mathematics, and gold and hybrid journals were still in their infancy (Piwowar et al., 2018). Scholarly publishing was just on the verge of moving from a more distributed, society-based ecosystem to one that was heavily consolidated in a few for-profit publishers (Larivière, Haustein, & Mongeon, 2015); it is no surprise that Elsevier was a natural partner for the establishment of JOI. Major publishers were heralding their ‘big deals’ to libraries and the negative financial and intellectual consequences of these deals had not yet reached a tipping point. By 2019, however, the misalignment in values between the scholarly community and large profit-driven publishers could no longer be ignored. This led to the collective resignation of the editorial board of JOI and the founding of Quantitative Science Studies (QSS).
The financial model of Elsevier has become untenable for the scientific community and, we argue, in violation of the scientific ethos. Its excessive subscription fees have caused journal cancellations across the globe—from California to Germany (SPARC, 2020)—and Elsevier’s article processing charges (APCs) for open access publishing (currently USD 2000 at JOI) do not represent a fair value for the cost. Publishing with Elsevier inevitably places major limits on scholarship: The expense of the subscription model places a restriction on who can be a reader of science, the expense of APCs restricts who can be an author. These restrictions on access are harmful to science and society….”