In 2014, GSA Council announced its commitment to transitioning GSA journals to full open access beginning in 2017 with Geology. The motivation for this decision was largely aspirational: to provide a valuable service to our membership and extend the reach and impact of our publications by making them accessible to the global research community and to the public and policymakers, worldwide. This plan was delayed to allow Council time to fully understand the positive and negative impacts of this decision to our members, to the Society, and to authors. Over the past year, Council made an internal review of our publication options and business changes that would support adoption of open access. We brought in experts to assess our publication model, to survey our authors (including members and nonmembers), to share research on factors favoring a successful transition to open access, and to provide us with informed input on how GSA could move toward implementation of open access. After thorough discussion, Council voted at its 2017 spring meeting to change GSA’s phased transition to open access. We will now transition Lithosphere and Geosphere to open access in 2018. Transition of GSA Bulletin and Geology is postponed.
What last year’s work has shown us is that the open-access movement is progressing, and we continue our commitment to this exciting possibility, but implementation of full open access requires changes across commercial, nonprofit, and university business models that are not yet well-synced, as well as adaptations and changes in the perceptions and experience of authors and GSA membership. We believe the transition to open access poses great opportunities for Lithosphere and Geosphere to reach new audiences and to develop and evolve in perspective and impact. This is also an opportunity for GSA to better educate itself on the management of open access journals not only for the success of the journal and its authors, but also for the benefit of the Society’s membership. We look forward to beginning GSA’s move to journal open access and welcome your input and feedback as we begin this initial step.