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Open access solutions for biodiversity journals: Do not replace one problem with another

For much of the twentieth century, many or most scholarly journals in biodiversity, ecology, biogeography and conservation were owned and published by scientific societies and made available to the broader scientific community at relatively low cost. However, the past several decades have seen a dominant process of commercialization of the publication process in this field, either by commercial publishing firms taking over publication of journals owned by a society (e.g., Evolution), or by commercial publishers starting new journals to fill “niches” that were until then empty in the scholarly publishing ecosystem. Diversity and Distributions is an example of this latter category of journals, having been created by Wiley Publishers in 1993 (as Biodiversity Letters). Being a journal owned by a commercial publisher, it has always been accessed by readers via subscription, but the publication process has been free to potential authors whose work has passed peer review.

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