American Journal of Public Health Is Suddenly Less Public

American Journal of Public HealthOn April 27, the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) informed its recent authors of plans to close a portion of its backfile, which is currently open access on the journal website. Until now, all AJPH articles more than two years old have been freely available on the site.  As of June 1, the journal will restrict access to all articles less than ten years old and ask authors of those articles for $1000 per article to continue free access on the AJPH site.

However, this fee is not necessary to make AJPH articles open access — all AJPH articles more than two years old are already (and will continue to be) discoverable and freely available to all in the PubMed Central archive.

We see no compelling reason for authors to subsidize open access on the journal website when the articles are already openly accessible through PubMed Central.  We believe AJPH is simply seeking to profit from authors and readers who are not fully familiar with PubMed Central.

If this change is not simply a money-making ploy, AJPH needs to explain why exactly they’re instituting the change.  The ball’s in your court, AJPH.

Update: AJPH responded on Twitter!  Well, sort of responded: “Thanks for sharing your feedback on AJPH. We’ll have more information available soon.”

About the Author

Jill Cirasella is the Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center, CUNY.