POLICY ON PRE-PRINT DEPOSITS
GENETICS allows authors to deposit manuscripts (currently under review or those for intended submission to GENETICS) in non-commercial, pre-print servers such as ArXiv. Upon final publication in GENETICS, authors should insert a journal reference (including DOI), and link to the published article on the GENETICS website, and include the acknowledgment: “The published article is available at www.genetics.org.” See http://arxiv.org/help/jref for details.
Here’s a more thorough list of preprint guidelines by journal. For all practical purposes this means that population genetics can now percolate more freely among the masses. Many of the differences between “draft” preprints and the final manuscript have to do with formatting, etc., from what I have seen. So the content shall flow!
More specifically, I think the modest community of population and evolutionary geneticists is blazing a path where you can already see the post-paywall world coalescing before our eyes. I’m talking about < 10 years, with perhaps the process nearing completion by the end of 2013. With the combination of open access journals and preprints we’re seeing the landscape rearranging itself now. There will be some redoubts of the old order for years to come, perhaps AJHG, as well as de facto vanity journals. But it seems that the tide has turned.
I am more skeptical about the rest of biology, though I am hopeful. There are some substantive differences, in particular the relationships that biomedical science has forged with the private sector, complicating any default standard for liberation of knowledge. But much of the reason for my pessimism is due to cultural considerations. Many population & evolutionary geneticists and genomicists are familiar with the norms in physics and mathematics, because they come out of the world of physics and mathematics. These individuals serve as catalysts, promoting values, and bringing experience with a different system of knowledge propagation. Unfortunately these people are not as common in domains such as developmental biology.
Note: As always, if I blog a pay paper I will email it to you if you contact me and request.