Not exactly good news, I am afraid. This is just Elsevier's way of capturing the growing open access market via Article Processing Charges (APC). https://www.elsevier.com/journals/social-sciences-and-humanities-open/25... It is also Elsevier's attempt to imitate the "mega-journal" model and competing for market share of OA funding, as more European based funders are making deals with publishers to maximize their own OA shares by making available publishing fees.
But even at $700 USD, this will attract many authors, many from the global south who are increasingly required to publish in "international" journals or outlets with a recognized "brand". (A quick glance of the authorship distribution in this journal thus far seems to confirm this). This will detract from the many high quality OA humanities and social sciences journals run by scholarly societies and other grassroot efforts, many do not charge for APCs, but do not carry the same recognized brand.
For interesting non-profit OA outlets and initiatives, see for examples the Radical Open Access Collective < http://radicaloa.disruptivemedia.org.uk/> and ScholarLed <https://scholarled.org/> . There is also the Humanities Commons < https://hcommons.org/>. More important, well established HSS platforms and collectives are well in place in Latin America, including Redalyc <https://www.redalyc.org>, the newly formed Ameli.CA <http://amelica.org> and of course the long running SciELO based in Brazil <http://scielo.org>
Let's not give Elsevier more oxygen they don't need, and let's amplify the hard work of scholar-led and community based collective platforms designed to serve the research community, not those of the shareholders.
HIFA profile: Leslie Chan is Director of Bioline International, Canada. Professional interests: Leslie Chan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Science at the University of Toronto, where he serves as the Program Supervisor for the International Development Studies program. His teaching and research interests center on the use of information technology and knowledge for development. Since 2000, he has being serving as the Director of Bioline International http://www.bioline.org.br, a collaborative open access platform that provides free access to peer reviewed journals from close to 20 developing countries. Leslie is one of the founding editors of OASIS (Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook, www.openoasis.org, a web site that provides practical resources for implementing open access to scholarly research. chan AT utsc.utoronto.ca