In this issue of JUnQ we set out to illuminate different ways of scientific quality assurance. How do scientists from various fields of research make sure that their work (as well as the work of others) maintains a high standard of quality? How is “quality” measured in the first place?
Quality assurance in publishing is of special importance in present times, where we experience a paradigm shift in publishing: In contrast to traditional journals, which acquire money via subscriptions, more and more journals are Open Access, which means readable for free. The whole thing started with the arXiv server for preprints in Mathematics and Physics in 1991 and now, two decades later, ca. 25% of all articles are freely available online immediately after acceptance, just like in JUnQ. In biomedical research open access got a boost eight years after the start of arXiv, when the director of the US National Institute of Health (NIH, a main source of funding in US biomedical research) proposed an archive of free biomedical papers in 1999, which led to the founding of PubMedCentral in 2000. PubMedCentral was an immediate and exceptional success, resulting in a call for boycott of journals that did not deposit their papers on PubMedCentral six months after publication. To date more than 50% of all published articles are open access at least twelve months after publication.