Can We Use Collective Funding To Reclaim Scholarly Publishing? – The Wire Science

The open access movement has dropped barriers to readers only to erect them for authors. The reason is the article processing charge (APC), which typically runs Rs 2-5 lakh.
The APC model, with its tolled access to authorship, is the subscription model seen through a camera obscura: author paywalls in place of reading paywalls.
The emerging APC regime is also re-anointing the commercial oligopolists – the same five firms that fleece universities through usurious subscription charges.
Any alternative to the prevailing scholarly communication system must be built atop a different funding model that excludes neither readers nor authors.
In broad strokes, that model will center on direct support for publishing, drawn from funds currently allotted to subscription and APC spending. Call this the collective funding model.”

Overview of Year 2 opt in options for CRL/NERL Affiliates to PLOS “All Titles” Publishing Agreement

“In 2021 PLOS and CRL/NERL kicked off a three year (2021-2024) partnership to make open access publishing and open science services FEE-FREE for authors. Our shared goal was to make reading and publishing open access as equitable as possible — eliminating fees for authors, which are a major barrier to inclusion.

As we approach the end of the first year of the partnership, we’re opening up the agreement to any CRL/NERL members and NERL affiliates that didn’t join for year one but might want to join for the remaining two years of the partnership. This webinar will be an overview of:
• Purpose/goals of the partnership
• Intro to PLOS non-APC business models
• Overview of agreement contours including fees, eligibility, and reporting
• Q&A …”

Alperin (2022) Why I think ending article-processing charges will save open access | Nature

When the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization based in San -Francisco, California, and other publishers popularized article-processing charges (APCs) in the mid-2000s, scholarly publishing in Latin America was already embracing open access (OA) using a different model: instead of charging authors, academic institutions published journals edited by faculty members. The approach is a type of ‘diamond OA’, which works without fees for readers or authors.

Over the same time period, APCs have become ubiquitous in the global north, embraced by for-profit journals and encouraged by many leading European and US funders. The vibrant publishing ecosystem in Latin America (and elsewhere in the global south) will not be left unscathed.

I know this ecosystem is vibrant and diverse because I’ve spent 15 years working at the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) — based at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada — and I am now co-scientific director of this initiative to make research publicly available. I have met hundreds of journal editors who work hard, often in challenging conditions, to bring the knowledge discovered by their communities to the rest of the world. An incredibly diverse set of journals now uses Open Journal Systems, free software developed by PKP, to manage, publish and index their work (S. Khanna et al. Preprint at SciELO preprints https://doi.org/jgbz; 2022). My and my colleagues’ work shows that many non-academics frequently access this content. Many titles focus on locally relevant issues, such as rural development, local histories and Indigenous cultures. There are, of course, journals of broad global interest as well.

 

Yet many Latin American scholars still seek to publish in well-funded journals in Europe and North America, which are seen as more prestigious and get more international attention. And many research-evaluation systems favour journals indexed in databases such as Scopus and Web of Science, which contain a tiny fraction of the journals found in the global south. As more journals charge APCs, more Latin American institutions are pressured to pay them.

In Colombia alone, APC payments are estimated to have grown by 18-fold since 2019. The amount is expected to increase after some five dozen institutions signed Latin America’s first ‘transformative agreement’ (a contract to pay APCs to subscription-based journals that are changing business models) late last year. At least 120 journals in Latin America have begun charging APCs in the past 5 years, although this model inherently links publication to authors’ (or their funders’ or institutions’) ability to pay.

[…]

 

Peter Lang Greenlights New Open Access Model | Peter Lang

In collaboration with Jisc, Peter Lang has strengthened its commitment to Open Access publishing. A new pilot project called Greenlight offers institutions the opportunity to grow their lists and support Open Access publication in the Humanities and the Sciences.

The Greenlight package includes monographs by UK authors on current topics in medicine, technology, sexuality studies and environmental studies. Participating institutions pay a one-off fee to receive perpetual unlimited multi-user access planned for publication in the course of 2023.

Peter Lang offers more than 2,000 Open Access titles to date and is proud to support the dissemination of academic research to the global community.

 

Why making academic research free is complicated – Vox

“Freeing research largely paid for by taxpayer money can seem like a no-brainer, but over time, the potential downsides of open science efforts like the Plan S mandate have become more apparent. While pay-to-publish but free-to-read platforms bring more research to the public, they can add barriers for researchers and worsen some existing inequalities in academia. Scientific publishing will remain a for-profit industry and a highly lucrative one for publishers. Shifting the fees onto authors doesn’t change this.

Many of the newly founded open-access journals drop the fees entirely, but even if they’re not trying to make a profit, they still need to cover their operating costs. They fall back on ad revenue, individual donations or philanthropic grants, corporate sponsorship, and even crowdfunding.

But open-access platforms often lack the prestige of well-known top journals like Nature. Scientists early in their careers — as well as those at less wealthy universities in low-income countries — often rely on precarious, short-term grant funding to carry out their research. Their career depends on putting out an impressive publication record, which is already an uphill battle….”

 

Subscribe-to-Open Community of Practice Statement on the OSTP ‘Nelson Memo’

The Subscribe to Open (S2O) Community of Practice is an informal collective of over forty pro-open publishers, libraries, consortia, funders, service providers, and other stakeholders committed to providing equitable and economically sustainable OA publishing. The S2O Community of Practice welcomes the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

Recalibrating the Scope of Scholarly Publishing: A Modest Step in a Vast Decolonization Process | SciELO Preprints

Khanna , S., Ball, J., Alperin, J. P., & Willinsky, J. (2022). Recalibrating the Scope of Scholarly Publishing: A Modest Step in a Vast Decolonization Process. In SciELO Preprints. https://doi.org/10.1590/SciELOPreprints.4729

Abstract: By analyzing 25,671 journals largely absent from journal counts and indexes, this study demonstrates that scholarly communication is more of a global endeavor than is commonly credited. These journals, employing the open source publishing platform Open Journal Systems (OJS), have published 5.8 million items and represent 136 countries, with 79.9 percent publishing in the Global South and 84.2 percent following the OA diamond model (charging neither reader nor author). More than half (54.6 percent) of the journals operate in more than one language, while publishing research in 60 languages (led by English, Indonesian, Spanish, and Portuguese). The journals are distributed across the social sciences (45.9 percent), STEM (40.3 percent), and the humanities (13.8 percent). For all their geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity, the Web of Science indexes 1.2 percent of the journals and Scopus 5.7 percent. On the other hand, Cabells Predatory Reports includes 1.0 percent of the journals, while Beall lists 1.4 percent of them as predatory. A recognition of the expanded scope and scale of scholarly publishing will help ensure that humankind takes full advantage of what is increasingly a global research enterprise.

 

Hello World, From Wikimedia Enterprise | 21 Jun 2022

“We launched Wikimedia Enterprise last year with a goal of making it easy to programmatically access data from across the Wikimedia Foundation projects. Since then, we have been busy building a product that can serve the needs of commercial users of any size. Today, we are thrilled to share some of the first customers using this product, in addition to new features that make it easy for anyone to start using Wikimedia Enterprise.  Today, we are excited to announce that: Google has become the very first customer of Wikimedia Enterprise. The Internet Archive will receive full access to Enterprise’s feature set, at no cost, for use in furthering their mission of archiving the Web. Self-service trial accounts are available to anyone to try out Wikimedia Enterprise for their own use. Trial accounts include unlimited free access to a monthly snapshot of the entire Wikimedia Enterprise project archive and 10,000 free requests from our On-Demand API. New product and pricing details are now available, including a pricing calculator to estimate usage cost after a trial, as well as comprehensive product documentation, and a customer service portal with detailed FAQs. We have also added a news page (you are reading it!) to better communicate updates and announcements to current and potential customers….”

News & Views: OSTP Memo – Modeling Market Impact – Delta Think

“This month we look at the possible effects of the new OSTP Public Access policy on the value of the scholarly publishing market. We also suggest some ways that publishers can meet the challenges ahead….

At this stage it is not possible to predict the specific approaches the various federal agencies will choose. The policy does not rule out publication in hybrid journals and the economic impact assessment discusses the notion of publication charges. Issues around licenses, manuscript types, and manuscript location, are left open as well as requirements around data.

The models below consider a general case: What might happen if “open” content in some form is good enough to replace subscriptions? And is there an upside if the newly open content were paid for in some way? …

The OSTP’s Economic Impact Statement (issued along with its new policy) puts this proportion at between 6.7% and 9.1% of global output. Our own analysis suggests a figure between 6.6% and 7.2%. …

Specific publishers will find their situation different to the broad market averages. One difference will be the share of their papers arising from US federally funded research. Delta Think has worked with publishers, predominantly US-based, where federally funded research accounts for 30-50% of their publications. A second difference is the size of the gap between the lower revenue generated per open access article, and the higher revenue generated per subscription access article. For many publishers, the difference is less than the market average. So as the balance of their publication output shifts towards OA, their subscription revenues won’t fall as quickly as market averages….

A few other important drivers are not immediately obvious from the charts:

The US’s share of global output is declining slowly: 1 percentage point or less per year, depending on the data sources used. Therefore, the effects of the OSTP policy reduce over time. (Which is why the charts head back towards the horizontal axis.)
Pricing policies are key. Understanding reduction in market value could help publishers to set price increases and help funders and buyers to understand likely cost implications. Publication fees can be optimized across a portfolio of journals and subscription prices raised further to offset softening revenues.
As the difference in revenues per article between OA and subscription narrows, then the effects become less profound. We have long noted that publication charges are likely to rise to achieve parity with subscriptions.
The models show revenue changes compounded over time. They don’t show annual revenue increases generated by increasing APC prices….”

 

The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges | Zenodo

Butler, Leigh-Ann, Matthias, Lisa, Simard, Marc-André, Mongeon, Philippe, & Haustein, Stefanie. (2022). The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges (Version v1). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7057144 Abstract: This study aims to estimate the total amount of article processing charges (APCs) paid to publish open access (OA) in journals controlled by the large commercial publishers Elsevier, Sage, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley, the so-called oligopoly of academic publishing. Since the early 2010s, these five academic publishers control more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles indexed in the Web of Science (WoS), expanding their market power through acquisitions and mergers. While traditionally their business model focused on charging subscriptions to read articles, they have now shifted to OA, charging authors fees for publishing. These APCs often amount to several thousand dollars, excluding many from publishing on economic grounds. This study computes an estimate of the total amounts of APCs paid to oligopoly publishers between 2015 and 2018, using publication data from WoS, OA status from Unpaywall and annual APC prices from open datasets and historical fees retrieved via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We estimate that globally authors paid the oligopoly of academic publishers $1.06 billion in publication fees in the 4-year period analyzed. Of the 505,903 OA articles analyzed, 60.9% were published in gold OA journals, 8.6% in diamond (gold with APC=$0) and 30.5% in hybrid journals. Revenue from gold OA amounted to $612.5 million, while $448.3 million was obtained for publishing OA in hybrid journals, for which publishers already charge subscription fees. Among the five publishers, Springer-Nature made the largest revenue from OA ($589.7 million), followed by Elsevier ($221.4 million), Wiley ($114.3 million), Taylor & Francis ($76.8 million) and Sage ($31.6 million). With Elsevier and Wiley making the majority of APC revenue from hybrid fees and others focusing on gold, different OA strategies could be observed between publishers.

COPIM’s toolkit for running an Opening the Future programme at an academic press · Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

“In spring 2020, COPIM Work Package 3 started work on devising a new revenue model for university presses and open access books. Through a series of fact-finding meetings, workshops and reports the team gathered lots of information on the business models of scholarly presses with the aim of creating a sustainable revenue stream that would allow presses to publish their books openly, without using unaffordable book processing charges.

That research led to us devising and launching an innovative revenue model called Opening the Future in October 2020 with our first partner publisher Central European University (CEU) Press. In essence, it is a library subscription membership programme whereby the press provides term access to portions of their (closed) backlist books at a special price, and then uses the revenue from members’ subscriptions to allow the frontlist to be OA from the date of publication. This model presents a potential route for the mass and sustainable transition to OA of many small-to-mid sized university presses. Liverpool University Press (LUP), joined as our second project partner with their own Opening the Future initiative in June 2021. The programme is proving to be a success and, to date, the two presses have together accrued enough library funding to produce 10+ new OA monographs. Opening the Future continues to grow with both publishers. …”

US requirements for public access to research | Unlocking Research

“Federal agencies have been asked to update their public access policies to make publications and supporting data publicly accessible without an embargo. This applies to all federal agencies (the previous policy only applied to those with more than $100 million in annual research and development expenditure) and allows for flexibility for the agencies to decide on some of the details while encouraging alignment of approaches. It applies to all peer-reviewed research articles in journals and includes the potential to also include peer-reviewed book chapters, editorials and peer-reviewed conference proceedings.

The emphasis on “measures to reduce inequities of, and access to, federally funded research and data” is particularly important in light of the serious risk that we will just move from a broken system with built-in inequities around access to information to a new broken system with built-in inequities around whose voices can be heard. Active engagement will be needed to ensure that the agencies take these issues into account and are not contributing to these inequities….”

University of Michigan Press Hits 2022 Open Access Books Target; Ready to Expand Open Access in 2023

“The 2023 Michigan Ebook Collection marks the third year of University of Michigan of Press’s renewed commitment to open access through its Fund to Mission program. This OA monograph model has allowed UMP to better align with our mission of sustainably distributing scholarship to the broadest possible audience, reflecting our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. 

Fund to Mission has received resounding support from over 100 libraries, many individual funders, and our provost. With their help, we plan to make at least 75% of our frontlist monographs open access in the 2023 Michigan Ebook Collection. This builds on our success in 2022 where we made 50% of our monographs open access….”

Guest Post – The Monograph and the Mission: University of Michigan Pledges $1.2 Million to Fund Open Access Book Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“This week the University of Michigan Press announced through our partner LYRASIS that we have reached our target of converting 50% of our 2022 monograph program to open access, without ever requiring any author to pay to publish. We will increase this percentage to 75% in 2023 and anticipate being able to sustain a majority open access monograph program that produces at least 60 new books a year. These open-access titles are now available on our open-source publishing platform, Fulcrum, and through multiple other distribution channels.

To sustain our output, we have developed a financial model, Fund to Mission, that matches investments in our ebook collection from over 100 libraries with subventions for individual titles, and support from our parent institution. In July, the Press was honored to receive a multiyear, $1.2 million investment from the University of Michigan Provost’s Office and an invitation to apply for continuing funding within the next three years. 

While we acknowledge the privilege of being at a leading and well-resourced US public university, we hope that the commitment Michigan’s academic leadership is making to open access for humanities books will be duplicated by Provosts at other North American institutions. As the name of our initiative suggests, such support allows university presses to pursue their core mission; to maximize global access to humanistic knowledge at a time when the need for rigorously vetted, boldly-expressed, high-quality information has never been greater. We also hope that even more libraries will be attracted to partner in achieving our shared mission….”