Open Access surpasses subscription publication globally for the first time | Dimensions

“In the vein of keeping things moving, the Dimensions team has introduced many new features over the last few years. Most recently, they have updated the Open Access classifications in Dimensions and introduced some additional fields that some of you may find helpful.

The Open Access data in Dimensions is sourced from our colleagues at Unpaywall.  When we first launched Dimensions, Unpaywall was almost as new as we were, but in the meanwhile, both Unpaywall and Dimensions have moved on. The new release of Dimensions now tracks the Unpaywall OA classifications.  This means that the filters in Dimensions should be more consistent and easier to understand – we now have: Green, Bronze, Gold, Hybrid, All OA and Closed.  Of course, all the Open Access filters are available in the free version of Dimensions as well.

While we have seen the percentage of OA increasing rapidly in recent years, especially in countries like China, Germany and the UK, it was not until 2020 that more outputs were published through Open Access channels than traditional subscription channels globally….”

2020 locked in shift to open access publishing, but Australia is lagging

In Australia the first challenge is to overcome the apathy about open access issues. The term “open access” has been too easy to ignore. Many consider it a low priority compared to achievements in research, obtaining grant funding, or university rankings glory.

Open access publishers: The new players

The essential role of journals as registries of scientific activity in all areas of knowledge justifies concern about their ownership and type of access. The purpose of this research is to analyze the main characteristics of publishers with journals that have received the DOAJ Seal. The specific objectives are a) to identify publishers and journals registered with the DOAJ Seal; b) to characterize those publishers; and c) to analyze their article processing fees. The research method involved the use of the DOAJ database, the Seal option and the following indicators: publisher, title, country, number of articles, knowledge area, article processing charges in USD, time for publication in weeks, and year of indexing in DOAJ. The results reveal a fast-rising oligopoly, dominated by Springer with 35% of the titles and PLOS with more than 20% of the articles. We’ve identified three models of expansion: a) a few titles with hundreds of articles; b) a high number of titles with a mix of big and small journals; and c) a high number of titles with medium-size journals. We identify a high number of titles without APCs (27%) in all areas while medicine was found to be the most expensive area. Commercial publishers clearly exercise control over the scope of journals and the creation of new titles, according to the interests of their companies, which are not necessarily the same as those of the scientific community or of society in general.

DOAJ Progress Report for 2018 – News Service

“With a revised set of Principles of Transparency and Best Practice and a new mission,  DOAJ started 2018 by publishing its strategy to show the community where DOAJ is focussing its efforts: a) funding and sustainability; b) functionality, stability and scalability; c) education and outreach. 

Financially, DOAJ has seen the benefits of the SCOSS initiative, with more than 60% of all monies being donated from the public sector….

For the first time since before 2013, we do not have a backlog of applications waiting to be triaged….

The introduction of an update function allowed us to make systematic journal entry reviews more focussed and more effective. These are undertaken as each update is submitted. Further reviews are taken across our larger multi-journal accounts where, as far as possible, we have tried to establish common metadata entries across all journals belonging to the same publishing entity….”

The STM Report An overview of scientific and scholarly publishing: Fifth edition, October 2018

“Average publishing costs per article vary substantially depending on a range of factors including rejection rate (which drives peer review costs), range and type of content, levels of editorial services, and others. The average 2010 cost of publishing an article in a subscription-based journal with print and electronic editions was estimated by CEPA to be around £3095 (c. $4,000), excluding non-cash peer review costs. An updated analysis by CEPA in 2018 shows that, in almost all cases, intangible costs such as editorial activities are much higher than tangible ones, such as production, sales and distribution, and are key drivers in per article costs (page 73).

The potential for technology and open access to effect cost savings has been much discussed, with open access publishers such as Hindawi and PeerJ having claimed per article costs in the low hundreds of dollars. A recent rise in PLOS’s per article costs, to $1,500 (inferred from its financial statements), and costs of over £3,000 ($4,000) per article at the selective OA journal eLife call into question the scope for OA to deliver radical cost savings. Nevertheless, with article volumes rising at 4% per annum, and journal revenues at only 2%, further downward pressure on per article costs is inevitable (page 74)….

 Gold open access is sometimes taken as synonymous with the article publication charge (APC) business model, but strictly speaking simply refers to journals offering immediate open access on publication. A substantial fraction of the Gold OA articles indexed by Scopus, however, do not involve APCs but use other models (e.g. institutional support or sponsorship). The APC model itself has become more complicated, with variable APCs (e.g. based on length), discounts, prepayments and institutional membership schemes, offsetting and bundling arrangements for hybrid publications, read-and-publish deals, and so on (page 97)….

It is unclear where the market will set OA publication charges: they are currently lower than the historical average cost of article publication; and charges for full open access articles remain lower than hybrid, though the gap is closing. Calls to redirect subscription expenditures to open access have increased, but the more research-intensive universities and countries remain concerned about the net impact on their budgets (page 101; 139). …

Recent developments indicate a growing willingness on the part of funders and policymakers to intervene in the STM marketplace, whether by establishing their own publication platforms, strengthening OA mandates or acting to change the incentive structures that drive authors’ publication choices (page 113). …

Concerns over the impact of Green OA and the role of repositories have receded somewhat, though not disappeared. The lack of its own independent sustainable business model means Green OA depends on its not undermining that of (subscription) journals. The evidence remains mixed, with indications that Green OA can increase downloads and citations being balanced against evidence of the long usage half-life of journal articles and its substantial variation between fields. In practice, however, attention in many quarters has shifted to the potentially damaging impact of Social Collaboration Networks (SCNs) and pirate websites on subscriptions (pages 114; 174). …”