Open Access Journals in the Wood Products Industry: The Journal of Forest Economics

The journal I have selected is the Journal of Forest Economics. This journal published in affiliation with the Department of Forest Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in the city of Umeå. Figure 1 below identifies this location on a map of Europe.

Figure 1

Umeå, Sweden

open access

The Journal of Forest Economics has a very broad scope, which includes the national, regional, and international, and which covers a variety of specialized topics related to the production and trade of forest products. These topics include:

  • forest management problems, such as forest regulation;
  • forest industry analysis, such as analyzing the supply, demand, and international trade of forest products;
  • the multiple use of forests, such as cost-benefit analyses of timber production and the environmental effects of forest industries; and
  • forestry and economic development, such as deforestation problems as well as the industry’s contributions to employment and income.

Beneath the journal’s icon is a prominent button stating “support open access”, which leads to a page dedicated to discussion the journal’s relationship with open access. The Journal of Forest Economics positions itself as publisher of research both in an open access format and through subscription. The journal explains its open access option by saying that “articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with reuse”, but this open access option requires either the article’s authors or its research funders to pay an “open access publication fee” of $1,500.

In addition, the Journal of Forest Economics allows for “green open access” publication of research. It describes “green open access” as when authors post “a free draft copy of their article to a repository or website.” While this option does not require an open access fee, the publication cannot be viewed immediately. Instead, “Access is granted after an embargo period has expired … because libraries understandably will not subscribe if the content is available for free immediately.”

The journal’s more traditional subscription option for publication only makes articles available to read for subscribers of the journal. The journal makes a point to say that the author’s choice of whether or not to publish via open access or subscription “will have no effect on the peer review process or acceptance.”

This review of the Journal of Forest Economics showed the variety of publishing options that authors have both within and outside of open access. Reviewing this journal’s website also showed the tension between wanting to support open access principles and needing to earn enough money to keep the journal operating. Most authors will not be able or willing to pay the $1,500 open access fee for immediate open access publication unless they have much funding. The most likely option for researchers to publish open access will be the “green open access” option. This means that the most recent research will not be available free to everyone, but it seems the most practical option for authors with limited funding.



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