SAGE membership of OASPA reinstated following six month review

SAGE welcomes the announcement by the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) that its membership of OASPA has been reinstated in full, following a six month review period.

In October 2013, OASPA’s Membership Committee placed SAGE’s membership under review as a result of concerns that were raised regarding the peer review policies of one of its journals – the Journal of International Medical Research (JIMR). These concerns were raised as part of an investigation that was carried out by OASPA’s Membership Committee in response to an article published in Science, which reported that 157 ‘spoof’ articles had been accepted for publication by Open Access journals.

As outlined in our October 2013 statement, SAGE had recently acquired JIMR with its unique two-stage editorial review process, specific to the journal and which was unlike that of any other SAGE journal, whether Open Access or subscription based. Although Science reported the ‘spoof’ article had been accepted for publication, this was subject to a further, detailed technical edit which had yet to take place. While SAGE was concerned that a paper with fundamental errors got through the initial stage, we were confident that the second technical edit stage would have revealed the errors and led to its rejection.

To ensure a similar situation could not occur again however, SAGE immediately made key changes to JIMR’s editorial process, introducing an additional stage of peer review. Once screened by the  Consultant Editor Professor Malcolm Lader (King’s College London), manuscripts are sent out for external, independent peer review, a process managed by an in-house Managing Editor at SAGE with an appropriate background and experience, and in consultation with the Consultant Editor when necessary. The Managing Editor is clearly identified on the journal’s Editorial Board. A final detailed 2 or 3 stage technical edit then takes place for all papers that pass this peer review step, further improving the quality of each article.

SAGE is committed to ensuring that the peer review and acceptance process for all our journals, whether traditional subscription-based or Open Access, is robust. With the introduction of the in-house Managing Editor and the additional stage to the peer review process, SAGE has introduced mechanisms to further strengthen JIMR’s peer review and improve the rigour of the editorial process.

SAGE has worked closely with OASPA to address its concerns and welcomes the investigation into the quality of research published by its members.

Welcoming the announcement David Ross, Executive Publisher for Open Access, remarked:

“We are delighted that OASPA has recognized our efforts and as a result has made the decision to reinstate SAGE as a full member of OASPA. We are extremely pleased it is satisfied with both our open approach to its committee’s concerns, and the robust changes that we have implemented for JIMR to ensure a strengthened peer review process and the continued publication of quality research.

SAGE has a longstanding reputation for responsible and ethical publishing practices and we are committed to ensuring that the peer review and acceptance process for all of our journals, whether traditional subscription-based or Open Access, is robust.”

The OASPA Statement can be found here.