Better together! In 2006, four French research institutes — INRA and IRSTEA, which merged as INRAE in 2020, IFREMER and CIRAD — decided to pool their expertise in scientific publishing. The result was Quæ, a joint publishing house whose aim was to support interactions among scientists and to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible. Quæ’s work focuses on agriculture and agricultural science, environmental science, food, oceans, aquatic and marine resources, and social sciences.
Collections to cater to a range of audiences
Across 17 collections, Éditions Quæ reveals the beauty of science, explores social issues, informs public debate and provides keys to understanding a range to topics. Some publications are intended for the general public and provide an overview of a field of study. Others delve into specialised subject matter and allow the scientific community to stay up to date on the work of their other experts in the field. And since knowledge knows no borders, an increasing number of Quæ publications are being translated into English for the benefit of the wider scientific community.
Quæ key figures
• Nearly 1,500 publications
• Nearly 1,000 publications digitally available
• 50 publications per year
• More than 2,000 authors
• 110 publications in English
Making science accessible to all
The move towards open access
In recent years, the move towards open science has been gaining momentum in the scientific community. Open science is fuelled by the belief that research findings and knowledge — publicly funded research in particular — should be accessible to all and at no cost. This is known as “open access”. Quæ adopted open access principles in 2018, as its director, Jean Arbeille, explains. “Our work is an extension of the open science movement. One of our missions is to support researchers in the creation and dissemination of open‑access, digital work.” A critical question for Quæ is, of course, the financing of open‑source publications. If a publication is free for the reader, who will pay for the publication’s costs? A common strategy in scientific publishing is for the researcher to pay for publication costs — or, more accurately, for the research centre, institution or laboratory hosting the researcher to finance the publication in order to promote the author’s research findings. This new economic model has proven effective, with half of Quæ’s 2020 publications released either as fully or partially open access. For some publications, Quæ uses a hybrid system known as “freemium”. The same publication can be accessed for free as a PDF or a digital e-pub, while the printed version is available for purchase. It’s a system that works well. “It creates uplift. Readers may discover the free version and then buy the paper version to further their exploration of the topic.” Since 2019, Quæ has had a dedicated web portal for its open access publications: https://www.quae-open.com/.
Quæ is a groupement d’intérêt économique (GIE), a consortium-style business model in France that allows individual organisations to share human and material resources, allowing INRAE, CIRAD and IFREMER to work together. Quæ’s editorial committee has 37 members, who apply editorial policy, identify projects, and revise and proofread the publishing house’s publications.