I recently learned that a journal called Obesity Reviews has a “Fast Track Facility”:
A submission fee of $1,000 or £750 for articles up to 9000 words long, or $1500 for articles more than 9,000 words long guarantees peer-review within 10 working days
This is a terrible development for academia. It creates a two-tier system, wherein scientists who are well-funded such as those from rich countries now have an unfair advantage over those who don’t. Science traditionally has been a partial refuge from the injustice of rich vs. poor. Although of course it was never entirely insulated from it, scientific institutions and journals have in the past have tried to treat all authors similarly.
To some, this “Fast Track Facility” may seem similar to the system of open-access journals where authors pay a fee to have their article published if it passes peer review. At least in the case of PLoS ONE (the open-access journal I am an editor for), however, this is very different because PLoS ONE waives the fee for authors who cannot pay. Authors who cannot pay are treated the same as authors who can pay. The “Fast Track Facility” policy of Obesity Reviews violates this fundamental principle of fairness.
UPDATE: Help write and sign on to a protest letter