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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health goes full open access

September 2020
by Reiner Rugulies and Alex Burdorf

The OSH UPDATE + FIRE and also OSHWORLD Editorial team is delighted to hear this announcement…

As of 1 January 2021, the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health (SJWEH) will become a full open access (OA) journal. Under the “gold” OA status, all new articles will be published as “unlocked content” on the journal’s website. This makes the final version of an article freely accessible for everyone, and allows for distribution and adaptation as long as the authors are duly acknowledged as they retain the copyright. Online subscriptions will no longer be needed and thus terminated, whereas subscriptions for the printed journal will continue.

Going full OA is a major step in the 45-year history of the journal. With this step, we join the rapidly growing Open Science movement. A core aim of this movement is “making full and immediate open access a reality” as proposed by “Plan S” (also known as “cOAlition S”), which has been endorsed among others by the European Commission, the World Health Organization and numerous funding agencies including the Academy of Finland, the Research Council of Norway, and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte). OA publishing means that research results are immediately available both for critical discussion in the whole scientific community – including researchers in low income countries who may not have access to subscription journals – and for consideration and decision-making by stakeholders and policy-makers. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many journals have pledged to publish COVID-19 related articles as OA, acknowledging the societal need of getting unrestricted, immediate access to research results. At SJWEH, we believe the societal need of getting immediate access to research results is not limited to times of a pandemic.

To become one of the first occupational health and safety journals to go full OA is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we are proud to be a first mover and support the Open Science movement. On the other hand, there is an economic risk for the journal. Unlike other major journals in occupational health and safety, SJWEH is published not by a large commercial publishing house but by a not-for-profit organization: the Nordic Association of Occupational Safety and Health (NOROSH). Thus, the journal is not published to make a financial profit, and we operate on a relatively small budget with the constant challenge to balance income and expenses. This does not leave much room for error and, therefore, we contemplated full OA for several years before taking the final step. After continuously increasing the journal’s OA content over the years, we now feel we are in a strong position to go 100% OA.

Full announcement: