Elsevier tries Open Access with Procedia

September 5, 2012

Elsevier is now experimenting with Open Access in its new Procedia Computer Science Series.

This is a series that targets the publication of Proceedings from technical conferences.


Here are some remarkable traits, from the Procedia website:

What is Procedia Computer Science?
“Launched in 2009, Procedia Computer Science is an electronic product focusing entirely on publishing high quality conference proceedings. Procedia Computer Science enables fast dissemination so conference delegates can publish their papers in a dedicated online issue on ScienceDirect, which is then made freely available worldwide.”

“All proceedings appear online, on Science Direct, within 6 weeks of acceptance of the final manuscripts via the conference organizer and are freely available to all users. “

Why should conference organizers choose Procedia Computer Science?
Unlike regular printed conference publications, there is no practical limit to the amount of papers a Procedia Computer Science issue can contain and pricing is affordable, clear and transparent, offering organizers a state of the art platform for their conference in a cost effective and sustainable manner.”

“Procedia Computer Science offers immediate access for all, with papers online within 6 weeks of acceptance, and free access providing maximum exposure for individual papers and the related conference. Conference delegates can thus access the papers from anywhere on the web during and post conference. Organizers are credited on the actual issue and are fully responsible for quality control, the review process and the content of individual conference papers. To assist conference organizers in the publication process templates (both Latex and Word) are provided.”


With this approach, Elsevier is aligning its services with the needs of dissemination that serve the interests of both the authors and the readers.

Unfortunately, the experiment is still rough around the edges when it comes to licensing. In its current form, the papers do not specify the licensing terms under which readers can use the copyrighted materials. Readers are not charged for downloading the papers, but they and the legal departments of their institutions, are left wondering whether they are infringing on the copyright of the articles or not…

In attempt to answer this question from the Procedia website, I was led to the standard copyright clearance site “RightsLinks,” which seems to be an unnecessary burden when Elsevier could have simply chosen the CC BY license and printed it upfront in the papers, as most open access journals do. Hopefully these misses will be fixed in upcoming versions of Procedia.

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