While the big for-profit journal publishers are not abandoning their core business of model of paying no research costs but privatising the profits they are attempting to undercut open-access arguments. As in Elsevier’s move to pilot a pre-press for The Lancet, to run “early stage health and medical research.”
The proposed site will come via preprint server, SSRN, which Elsevier’s owner Relx bought in 2016 (CMM May 20).
This goes some way to addressing a common criticism in fast-moving medical research that the publisher’s ponderous processes delay access to new findings.
It’s a no-lose for the publisher, if they decide the pilot works and it becomes permanent Elsevier will be able to claim it is moving with the market. If they pull the project they will be able to attribute it to lack of demand for research papers before they are peer-reviewed and published.