Applying Subscribe to Open to Scholarly Books – SPARC

“On May 26th at 11am ET / 8am PT, SPARC will host a webcast in partnership with the Subscribe to Open (S2O) Community of Practice to discuss how S2O, a conditional open access revenue model, is being used to support the open dissemination of scholarly books. The 90-minute session will cover the perspectives of publishers currently using conditional open access offers for books, authors who have published their books openly, and libraries that have committed to supporting this model. The webcast will seek to highlight both the increasing opportunities to support S2O models for books and the benefits of doing so for authors and for libraries.”

CEU Press OA monograph library membership model – free webinar for CRL

“FREE WEBINAR. CRL have partnered with Central European University (CEU) Press to offer subscriptions to curated packages of the Press’ extensive backlist on the history, culture and politics of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, including the transitions to democracy. The packages are DRM-free and libraries get perpetual access after a membership period of three years. Membership subscription revenue is used by the Press to produce new frontlist books in Open Access (OA) format, freely accessible to anyone. Shortlisted in 2021 for an ALPSP Innovation in Publishing Award, we call the scheme Opening the Future.

CEU Press and project-partner COPIM are hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, May 24th from 10am – 11am (PST) to talk about their journey in flipping to open, and to talk though the packages of backlist books on offer. The webinar will also offer Q&A. There is more information available in advance, including a more detailed pricing breakdown, on eDesiderata. 

Open Access Books: do we need a Plan S moment? – Digital Science

To judge from the progress of Open Access (OA) journal articles, you could be mistaken for thinking OA was the new paradigm for all research: a swift look at the charts below tells you everything you need to know.

According to Unpaywall and Dimensions, one by one the disciplines have tipped from majority-closed to majority-open. Life Sciences was the first to tip in 2013; Medical and Health Sciences followed in 2016; then the Social Sciences and Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 2017. The Humanities joined the majority open in 2020; and Engineering and Technology were at parity in 2021.

So what of books? While we can say with confidence that rates of OA publishing for both monographs and collected works have doubled over the last 10 years, the proportion of OA books remains very low, barely troubling the dominance of the traditional pay model. It’s possible to see a small increase in the last two years – which could be a consequence of more publishers making books ‘freely available’ during COVID (but, lacking a CC- licence not matching the formal status of being ‘Open Access’). Whether or not this trend continues, in a post-pandemic world, is a question that we’ll need to return to in 2024…


Librarian perspective: Q&A with Curtis Brundy, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications and Collections at Iowa State University

“[Q:] Can you talk about the divide between Scholarly Comms Librarians and Collections Librarians and how this might be bridged?

[A:] Libraries have traditionally placed their scholarly communications and collections work in distinct organizational silos. This has meant, in many cases, that the values that inform a library’s work in scholarly communications do not actually inform the work done in collections. This is an issue of values alignment. If we care about information equity, privacy, and intellectual freedom with our scholarly communications work, then we should also care about these things with our collections work. At Iowa State, we have just adopted a new collection and open strategies policy that centers our library’s values in our collection work. We have also integrated our scholarly communications efforts with our collections efforts to eliminate organizational barriers.

It is not uncommon for US research libraries to spend close to half of their operating budget on collections and acquisitions. Aligning our scholarly communications work and values with collections helps a library to shift this spending from traditional collection procurement to open investing, which will help incentivize and support the transition to a more equitable scholarly publishing system. I believe these types of changes are becoming more common in US libraries….”

From library budget to information budget: fostering transparency in the transformation towards open access

The discussion on the transformation of scholarly journals to open access (OA) increasingly concerns financial aspects. Considering the variety of funding strategies for article processing charge (APCs), the array of cost types for scientific information and the need for data monitoring to promote cost transparency, an integrated view of the financial dimension of the OA transition is needed. This commentary describes the need for implementing an information budget that looks beyond just the library budget and comprehensively targets all financial flows from universities and other research performing organizations to publishers. An information budget promotes an integrated perspective on the distributed costs at a given institution. This centralized approach of assessing financial flows can be used to strengthen the position of research institutions when negotiating with publishers.

Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Richard Gallagher, President & Editor-in-Chief, Annual Reviews

“Annual Reviews (AR) recently announced that over the next 18 months it aims to make its entire portfolio of 51 academic journals freely available under a new journal publication model known as Subscribe to Open (S2O).

Annual Reviews is a pioneer of S2O, having first trialled it in 2017 with its journal Annual Review of Public Health. A number of AR’s other journals have subsequently been converted to S2O and the publisher is now hoping to migrate its entire journal portfolio to the new model….

In light of AR’s announcement, I emailed a number of questions to the President & Editor-in-Chief of AR, Richard Gallagher. Those questions, and Gallagher’s replies, are published below….”

Webinar Flyer Inclusive Access.pdf – Google Drive

“Inclusive Access, also known as automatic textbook billing, is a sales model for college textbooks. Digital content is delivered to students by the first day of class, often through a learning management system. While Inclusive Access is intended to address high textbook costs, it also creates challenges for students and faculty alike. In this webinar, Trudi Radtke, Open Education Project Manager for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), will address challenges, facts, and myths of Inclusive Access programs….”

News – OLH annual report 2021

“The Open Library of Humanities is an award-winning, academic-led, diamond open-access publisher of 28 journals based in the Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. We are part of a community of scholar-led, community-owned and non-profit publishing ecosystem that are exploring different business models and innovative approaches to open access publishing that are adapted to the needs, in this case, of academics in the humanities. The platform was launched in 2015 by Birkbeck academics Professor Martin Eve and Dr Caroline Edwards and has been operating as an independent charity until May 2021, which is when the platform merged with the university. The decision to merge was taken, specifically, to protect the “academic-led” quality of the organisation and to protect the charity from financial and personnel risks.

With initial funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and subsequent support from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Professor Peter Baldwin, the platform currently covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any author fee. This funding mechanism enables equitable open access in the humanities disciplines, with charges neither to readers nor authors….

Part of the OLH model that makes it so appealing lies in our journal ‘flipping’ programme, where we have sought to convert existing subscription titles to an open access model without fees. In September 2021 OLH re-opened its journal flipping programme and remains open to expressions of interest from subscription journals in the humanities seeking to move to a gold open access (OA) publishing model without author-facing charges (‘diamond’ OA). …”

Dismantling the ivory tower’s knowledge boundaries

“The major shift to open access during the pandemic began with the Free Read initiative, which launched the petition “

Unlock Coronavirus Research” for scientists in early February of 2020 and to which highly reputable medical publishers quickly responded. Before the pandemic, up to 75 percent of scholarly publications were behind a paywall. By comparison, a preliminary study of over 5,600 articles on PubMed suggests that more than 95 percent of scholarly articles related to COVID-19 are now freely available. This increase in accessibility resulted from the rapid adaptation by biomedical journals and publishers, including Elsevier, Springer Nature, Cell Press, New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet. These journals and publishers granted open access to research on COVID-19 research, often making it 

immediately accessible on the platform PubMed Central and similar public repositories. Free and open access to COVID-19 research quickly became the new normal for biomedicine, with available findings directly impacting the development of treatment protocols and vaccines. Yet the pandemic became more than a health crisis. Understanding the social, psychological, and economic implications of the pandemic were imperative to its continued management.

Social science research, which delivers insights into human behaviors, relationships, and institutions, was instrumental to policymaking and healthcare solution development during the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of social science research to pandemic management was demonstrated by the 

shift in the topic of COVID-19 papers, from the initial focus on disease modeling, hospital mortality, diagnostics, and testing to an increasing focus on topics such as business closure, remote work, geographic mobility and migration, inequality, managerial decision-making, as well as accelerating innovation. Once the basic science on the virus were established, research on creating societal and economic resilience played an even larger role for beating the COVID-19 pandemic. One clear area that demonstrated the importance of social science research in informing COVID-19 management was the rollout of vaccines. Psychological, marketing, and information systems research played a central role in vaccine uptake across communities. A recent report by the National Institutes of Health called for the use of evidence-based strategies, such as 

behavioral nudges and strategic social norms, to increase vaccine uptake….”



Watkinson | What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about humanities book publishing so far? A view from North America | The Journal of Electronic Publishing

“Ground down for years by the conflation of lack of physical circulation with a lack of interest, humanities publishers saw the passion unleashed when access to monographs became ubiquitous and easy. Publishers who were long-term skeptics of open access have become proponents, although still worried about how to sustain it financially….

How do we help these readers discover books and journals they can access? As the exponential growth of humanities titles in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) shows, a lot of literature is becoming permanently open access. However, good luck in doing a subject search for just open access content! Because US libraries have outsourced cataloging to companies such as EBSCO and ProQuest that rely on sales revenue to fund human-powered metadata enrichment, there is little incentive to surface open access books or even identify them as such. Small humanities journals are sometimes less visible because their publishers can’t create and distribute metadata (something DOAJ exists to help with). Academic books are also often invisible to the computers that mine full-text and metadata because the standards used in book publishing cater to print rather than electronic discovery. That’s because the trade giants dominate US book publishing and focus on selling bestsellers through rather than serving the needs of academic libraries. The consequence is that humanities book publishers spend all their efforts on BISAC codes (designed to help booksellers in arranging shelves), ONIX feeds (heavy on availability statuses), and ISBNs (using the same 13-digit UPC format as cereal boxes). Their focus on the print supply chain leaves little time for allocating digital object identifiers (DOIs), Open Researcher and Contributor IDs (ORCIDs), or Research Organization Registry (ROR) identifiers, the building blocks of the digital ecosystem. The challenge of managing temporarily free-to-read materials during the pandemic and the switch to open has catalyzed some libraries to rediscover the importance of “technical services” that were in danger of being consigned to the building’s basement. The combination of untapped demand for poorly tamed information has also opened the doors to increasingly sophisticated informal organizations. The pirate site Z-Library, for example, offers millions of books and journal articles for free with a robust search mechanism and clean user interface. Based probably in Russia, outside the boundaries of copyright policing, Z-Library is both a symptom of unmet global demand and an existential threat to many academic publishers’ current sustainability models.


How can librarians and publishers sustain an ecosystem of humanities publishing in which access to the digital version of each title is free? Who pays the cost of publishing in fields that lack the grant funding of science, technical, and medical fields (STM)? The recognition that open access models that require authors to pay article processing charges (APCs) or book publishing charges (BPCs) are fundamentally inequitable to the many who cannot pay has led to new “hybrid” funding models. Several North American university presses have combined parent institutional support, payments from individual libraries and consortia, and grant funding where available to support OA book publishing. These include the Direct to Open program from the MIT Press, Fund to Mission from the University of Michigan Press, and the multi-institutional membership model that powers Lever Press. Beyond the university presses, “scholar-led” publishers such as Punctum Books and many library publishers provide options that rely on substantial volunteer labor and support in kind. All of these models rely on library support to a greater or lesser extent. Already under pressure from the inflationary costs of STM periodicals, this funding may not be able to scale. The Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative is jointly led by the Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of University Presses. This program aims to bring provosts to the table, providing funding for their faculty members to publish books as open access that is separate from the library’s allotment. An open question that the University of North Carolina Press is exploring is whether individual scholars will be willing to spend money on print copies of books that are available open access. Their Sustainable History Monograph Pilot already suggests that this may vary by field….”

Changing dynamics of scholarly publication: a perspective towards open access publishing and the proposed one nation, one subscription policy of India | SpringerLink

In the midst of the most widely used subscription-based publishing model, open access publishing is gaining a foothold in the publishing world. India, as one of the world’s leading producers of scientific information, has seen a considerable escalation in the production of open access knowledge content, which has sparked a scholarly debate towards the availability and accessibility of scholarly knowledge to all. Despite the fact that two major science funding agencies of India, the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology, adopted an open access policy in 2014 to promote green open access to articles produced from publicly financed research projects, academic content still remains out of reach for everyone due to inadequate planning and implementation. Recently the Government of India has proposed a “one nation, one subscription” (ONOS) policy to make scholarly knowledge more accessible to Indian citizens. The study’s primary goal is to look into the open-access situation across many subject groups in India and globally. The aim is to understand whether a blanket subscription policy is the best way to facilitate the accessibility of scholarly knowledge or if subject-specific needs implications of other global OA initiatives are worth considering when implementing the ONOS policy.

Annual Reviews’ Subscribe To Open: From Idea To Full Adoption – The Scholarly Kitchen

“This April, Annual Reviews announced that for 2023 they will offer all 51 of their journals under the Subscribe to Open (S2O) business model, with the intention of becoming a fully open access (OA) publisher.

Three years ago, I interviewed Richard Gallagher, President and Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reviews, and Kamran Naim, Director of Partnerships and Initiatives, about the organization’s rationale for pursuing OA and the details of S2O. Since that time, I’ve kept in touch with Richard and have been intrigued by his strategy to expand the reach of S2O based on experimentation, iteration, learning, and evidence.

With this latest announcement expanding the S2O model to all of Annual Reviews’ publications, it was time to speak with  Richard again!…”

ACS Publications commits its entire hybrid journal portfolio to become transformative journals – American Chemical Society

The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has committed its full portfolio of more than 60 hybrid journals, which offers both open access and subscription-only content, to become Plan S-aligned transformative journals. This development represents a major step in ACS’ long-standing commitment to open science, signaling a future in which all publications are open access (OA), and ensures that more authors can continue to publish in their chosen journal.

Direct to Open Post-Launch: Refreshers, Partnerships, and Catching Up – Choice 360

“In March 2021, MIT Press launched the library collective action model Direct to Open (D2O). By granting participating institutions access to backlist titles, D2O encourages libraries to aid in the notoriously difficult practice of opening up monographs. Since last year’s launch, over 150 institutions have signed on; due to this support, MIT Press will publish its entire spring 2022 catalogue of monographs and edited collections open access.

This month, MIT Press returns to The Authority File a year post-launch to discuss the milestones and future of D2O. Emily Farrell, Library Partnerships and Sales Lead at MIT Press, offers an inside look at library feedback and market forces. Curtis Brundy, Associate University Librarian at Iowa State University, shares his perspective on the value of open models and the continuing confluence of scholarly communication and collection development in the higher education ecosystem.

In this first episode of the four-part series, Emily discusses the lessons learned through D2O’s partnerships with institutions. She also highlights the initial insights gleaned from the past year, summarized in the press’s recent white paper. In addition, Curtis expands on his role in MIT Press’s advisory board, and why the model proved an exciting and bold move in the current publishing landscape….”