Open Access Megajournals – Have They Changed Everything?

The Open Access ‘Megajournal’ (a class of journal defined by the success of PLOS ONE) is a reasonably recent phenomenon, but one that some observers believe is poised to change the publishing world very rapidly. A megajournal is typically understood to be an online-only journal; covering a very broad subject area; selecting content based only on scientific and methodological soundness; and with a business model which allows each article to cover its own costs. With these attributes, megajournals are not limited in potential output and as such are able to grow commensurate with any growth in submissions. PLOS ONE pioneered this category of journal and is currently expected to publish in excess of 30,000 articles in 2013 alone – possibly approaching 3% of all STM articles published that year. Recognizing the success of this model, many other publishers (such as Nature, Springer, SAGE, BioONE, PeerJ, , BMJ, F1000 and so on) have launched similar journals and each of these publishers is seeing their megajournal grow in volume, month on month. In many ways, the growth of the megajournal has been one of the most visible successes of the open access movement.