Sustainable Energy & Open Access

University of Oradea’s Journal of Sustainable Energy (JSE) is an Open Access journal from Romania specializing in environmentally friendly energy solutions. I came across the publication on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) but their papers are also available through EBSCO publishing, Google Scholar, Open Academic Journals Index, and others. Started in 2010, the purpose of JSE is to promote the proliferation of better energy practices worldwide. Its goal is to do so through the open dissemination of knowledge in the field. Topics span from sustainable community energy in urban environments to power systems reliability and waste-to-energy generation techniques. That being said, the journal stresses that any paper directly or indirectly relevant to the energy domain will be considered, including financial and economic analyses of energy markets.

As far as its alignment with the Open Access ecosystem, JSE includes a statement from the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) on their journal homepage:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. 

The importance of the BOAI cannot be understated. In 2002, a group of thought leaders in the open access movement, also know as Free Online Scholarship, came together to develop a set of guiding principles for accessible scientific literature. In 2012 they reconvened and set a goal for open access to be the default method for peer-review publications in every field and every country by 2022.

While scientific literature in the energy domain is clearly becoming easier to access with the creation of journals like JSE, it is harder to imagine a reality where energy itself is open access. Our energy markets are some of the most capital intensive industries to get into. It can take millions of dollars to build a sub-station for electrical distribution. Even for customers uninterested in developing energy solutions there are increasing prices to pay for kWh on the meter. The environmental cost of energy is rapidly rising with technologies like hydraulic fracking, even if the financial costs that consumers see on their bills seems to be going down. We must be aware of the dangers of cheap energy and promote universal access to clean, renewable energies. It is the duty of journals like JSE to educate the general public and help them realize that the future of energy lies in the way they consume power and where they purchase it from.