I resigned as Editor of BEJTE last month, along with the other Editors. The journal was sold by Aaron Edlin to DeGruyter Publishing. Speaking for myself, there were two issues:

1. Commitment to open access: Initially, DeGruyter were going to charge for articles and access. We thought we convinced them that this would be a terrible idea, especially as BePress was a pioneer in open access publishing. And we joined as Editors in the old model. I showed the DeGruyter people the Theoretical Economics webpage. Editors at other BePress journals resigned when initially DeGruyter stuck to its guns with a policy of charging for articles. This seemed to move them towards our position. However, the journal webpage still confusingly quotes prices for individual purchase while having a link to Free “Trial” Access. Why is there a link for purchase if the journal is open access? Why the world “Trial” if the journal is committed to open access? So, the message to us was confused.

2. Execution: Along with the transfer of ownership came a transfer of software. BePress actually had quite good software. DeGruyter switched to software sold by Thomson Reuters (perhaps the same software as used by AER, but I am not sure?). They hired just two guys to manage the transition. They were totally overwhelmed. Emails went unanswered. Authors were confused. The software screwed up submission and resubmission of articles so there were constant emails from exasperated authors. There was no intellectual work and all the work was operational, helping DeGruyter fix its problems.

These two problems led to our resignations last month. Although we are still listed as Editors, we have in fact resigned.

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