More Unexpected Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But once you read the Transformative Journal reporting requirements, you will realize that this route is likely impossible for journals other than those from larger and wealthier publishers. Once again, a well-intentioned policy has created further inequities in scholarly communication….

Transformative Journals (TJs) are one route offered by cOAlition S “to encourage publishers to transition to immediate Open Access.” Through this route, a subscription/hybrid journal can remain compliant and eligible for Plan S authors by committing to a transition to becoming fully-OA and meeting a set of OA growth requirements each year until 2024, when support for TJs ends and they are expected to fully convert over to OA. Let’s ignore for now the OA growth requirements for TJs – DeltaThink’s recent analysis covers this well and shows how unrealistic the numbers are and how few journals are likely to progress adequately given the timelines involved…

Instead, I want to focus on the reporting requirements for TJs. Tallying up the number of OA articles published each year is easy to accomplish. The transparent pricing reporting requirements remain vague and meaningless enough that they shouldn’t prove too onerous for even smaller publishers to put together. Where things get difficult, if not impossible, is in the requirement for an annual public report to cOAlition S, a report that must include data on downloads, citations, and Altmetric scores for all papers published, and that must be sub-divided into OA papers versus non-OA papers.

For those working at larger publishing houses, this likely sounds trivial. You’d just assign your team of in-house bibliometric analysts to pull citation data from your expensive Web of Science, Scopus, or Dimensions subscription. Download information can be obtained from the usage tracking service you pay for, or perhaps it’s included from the full-service publishing platform that your organization owns or that you employ each year at significant cost. Altmetric numbers can come from your access to the paid service of the same name. Your employee bibliometricians will, of course, spend the necessary time parsing out the OA articles from everything else.

Hopefully the theme running through that last paragraph was fairly obvious – none of this is free, much of it is very expensive, and in-house bibliometric expertise is rare among smaller publishers….”

Open Access agreements with smaller publishers require active cross-stakeholder alignment, report says | ISSN

Open Access agreements between consortia/libraries and smaller independent publishers are used worldwide increasingly since 2020, signalling a potential for further growth, highlights an independent report released in June 2021 by Information Power. The report was commissioned by cOAlition S and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) as a follow up on the outcomes of the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project, published in autumn 2019.


Growth of OASPA members book output: We see different patterns between books and journals – OASPA

“Patterns in license usage have changed over time. Figure 1, above, shows how CC BY has become the most popular license in recent years, accounting for just over 65% of books published by OASPA members in 2020. CC BY-NC-ND was the next most commonly-used license, accounting for around 25% of books published in 2020….

5 publishers account for around 71% of OASPA members’ book output. This represents a similar level of consolidation to journals, although the top publishers are different between the two (with the exception of Springer Nature, T&F and De Gruyter). The next 5 publishers account for a further 18% of books; 12 publishers account for the remaining 11%. Full details of these additional publishers, together with the numbers of books for all publishers, can again be found in the downloadable data linked to above….”

Development, implementation and impact of a new preprint solicitation process at Proceedings B | Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Preprints are manuscripts posted on a public server that do not yet have formal certification of peer review from a scholarly journal. The increasingly prominent online repositories for these preprints provide a means of rapidly making scientific results accessible to all with an Internet connection. We here describe the catalysis and subsequent development of a successful new process to solicit preprints for consideration for publication in Proceedings B. We present preliminary comparisons between the focal topics and geographic origin of submitting authors of papers submitted in the traditional (non-solicited) route versus solicited preprints. This analysis suggests that the solicitation process seems to be achieving one of the primary goals of the preprint solicitation endeavour: broadening the scope of the papers featured in Proceedings B. We also use an informal survey of the early-career scientists that are or have been involved with the Preprint Editorial Team to find that these scientists view their participation positively with respect to career development and knowledge in their field. The inclusion of early-career researchers from across the world in the preprint solicitation process could also translate into social justice benefits by providing a career-building opportunity and a window into the publishing process for young scientists.

Article Processing Charges based publications: to which extent the price explains scientific impact?

The present study aims to analyze relationship between Citations Normalized Score (NCS) of scientific publications and Article Processing Charges (APCs) amounts of Gold Open access publications. To do so, we use APCs information provided by OpenAPC database and citations scores of publications in the Web of Science database (WoS). Database covers the period from 2006 to 2019 with 83,752 articles published in 4751 journals belonging to 267 distinct publishers. Results show that contrary to this belief, paying dearly does not necessarily increase the impact of publications. First, large publishers with high impact are not the most expensive. Second, publishers with the highest APCs are not necessarily the best in terms of impact. Correlation between APCs and impact is moderate. Otherwise, in the econometric analysis we have shown that publication quality is strongly determined by journal quality in which it is published. International collaboration also plays an important role in citations score.

Navigating the barbed wire of publisher access barriers | Plan S

“In many ways, the specific details of this situation are irrelevant. What does matter is the important points it raises:

From the baffling experiences described above, one concludes that not only is the assortment of access options confusing for readers but that major publishers are challenged to engineer and control access and authentication as they intended. Such examples validate the reasons why hybrid OA journals are problematic.

There is a significant effort associated with gatekeeping and preventing potential readers from accessing content, when research should be disseminated and read as widely as possible. This represents an increased cost in the production of publications – a cost which is ultimately borne by the subscriber or individual reader. 

There is considerable evidence that open access articles are more read than non Open access articles. Indeed, even SpringerNature, the publisher of the article example above, states that “Open approaches accelerate the progress of science…. OA is immediately accessible and highly discoverable… Previous research shows the OA advantage for researchers: OA articles are cited on average 1.6 times more than non-OA articles, downloaded 4 times more often and attract 2.5 times more attention, as measured by news and policy mentions”.

Wouldn’t it be better if the money, time and energy invested by publishers in attempting to build a complex variety of access barriers were directed towards providing a consistent approach to access? Then the money, time and energy spent by researchers and libraries in paying for and attempting to access content, via confused and confusing interfaces, could be better spent on research. If authentication and access control are so challenging, and we all, including publishers, agree that Open Access is beneficial, then we need to abandon these types of attempts at gatekeeping, and instead focus on making all research publications easily openly accessible.”

Academic research should benefit society and not shareholders | Jisc


“Shareholder value maximisation has been severely criticised in recent years, with a growing number of prominent business leaders recognising that companies have obligations to society as well as their shareholders.

This moral responsibility is also emerging in scholarly communications. Most academic research is still published behind paywalls, but researchers and funders are increasingly looking to make data and research outputs freely and openly available for the benefit of society.

The lion’s share of academic research is publicly funded, yet revenues derived from that research are distributed disproportionately, serving shareholders rather than researchers. Academic publishers and their shareholders have benefitted from an increasing proportion of library budgets. In the past, publishers routinely sought annual increases of journal subscription fees in addition to significant revenue from open access article processing charges. This is particularly hard for the smaller institutions that want to publish open access.”

Guest Post – Trends, Challenges, and Needs of Research in the Global South: Learnings as Research4Life Turns 20 – The Scholarly Kitchen

Access to research knowledge is essential for developing new research and for informed policy decisions. But access to knowledge is not equal around the world; researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are significantly disadvantaged by access challenges. This was the burning problem that Research4Life was set up to address, 20 years ago this year as the print to electronic migration was just gaining speed. Launched as Hinari by the World Health Organization (WHO) with 1500 journals from six major publishers, it now offers users up to 132,000 resources from 180 international partners. But partnering with publishers to facilitate access is not enough in itself; the resources have to be used effectively in a way that is relevant to users’ research, implementation and beyond. This is why, every five years Research4Life commissions in-depth reviews of its work to understand how the work of the partnership is experienced from the users’ as well as the partners’ perspectives – looking at its infrastructure, external context or landscape, and user experience. Together, the reviews serve as a solid evidence base for future evolution as Research4Life plans its strategy for the next five years. Our most recent set of evaluations were conducted in 2020-2021.

MIT and Harvard Have Sold Higher Education’s Future

“Last week Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sold their edX platform to a for-profit company for $800 million. Founded by the two institutions nearly a decade ago, edX was higher education’s answer to the venture-backed start-ups jostling for an online-course windfall. With the sale to one of those firms, Maryland-based 2U, Harvard and MIT have surrendered. Their decision to fold is a major, and potentially fateful, act of betrayal.

Alan Garber, Harvard’s provost, adopted the language of edX’s profit-maximizing rivals in conceding defeat. “Taking full advantage of [online learning’s] potential,” he told The Harvard Gazette, “will require capital investments at greater scale than is readily attainable for a nonprofit entity like edX.” The decision to sell comes as investor interest in higher education has swelled during the pandemic. Coursera, the Silicon Valley online-course provider, went public in March, and Instructure — the maker of the popular learning-management software Canvas — filed for an IPO last week. The Covid Zoom boom has brought the inevitable wave of start-ups hoping to cash in on the virtual college classroom. So it’s no surprise that the market value of 2U, after the edX announcement, surged past $3 billion.

Before the sale, edX was academe’s public option — a mission-aligned satellite of the brick-and-mortar campus. Now all the major players in the sector are profiteers, legally obligated to maximize shareholder return….

By the turn of the millennium, most societies had handed over their journals to be published by the big commercial players, in exchange for a share of profit. Now most scholarship is published by an oligopolist quintet of information conglomerates that, in turn, charge their college customers usurious fees.

That industry is among the most profitable in the world, in part because academics write and review for free. As the historian Aileen Fyfe has shown, there was nothing inevitable about the joint custody — nonprofit colleges and for-profit publishers — we’ve ended up with. We owe our current predicament, in part, to the decisions of learned societies who chose short-term cash over their scholar-members’ long-term interests. Harvard and MIT have just made the same disastrous miscalculation….

2U’s mission is fundamentally misaligned with the university tradition. 2U, Coursera, and their venture-funded competitors are built to squeeze profit from our students, using our faculty and course offerings. Harvard and MIT had no right, in the meaningful sense, to sell us off. None of us — not faculty members, not students — signed up for edX to increase Silicon Valley’s wallet share. We will look back on this careless abrogation of stewardship as the tragic squandering that it is.”

Job: University of Westminster Press: Press Manager (application deadline: July 25, 2021)

Salary: £41,715 per annum (Incl. LWA)

This post is full time and permanent, working 35 hours per week. 

This role presents an exciting opportunity to build on the existing success of the University of Westminster Press, which sits within the Research Environment and Scholarly Communications team within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office at the University, while working closely with colleagues in the University’s Library and Archives Service. 


Based in the heart of Central London, the University of Westminster Press (UWP) is a relatively new digital-first open access publisher of peer reviewed academic books, policy briefs and journals that was launched in 2015. A key component of the University’s Open Research Environment, it exists to provide global public access to academic work in multiple formats. In partnership with our authors and editors, we publish in areas that reflect the teaching and research strengths of the University of Westminster in social sciences and humanities, science and technology, media arts and design and other subject areas. 


UWP is an open access, ‘new’ university press, publishing peer-reviewed academic books and journals. It functions as a mixed model diamond open access publisher supported by income from book sales, central university and departmental contributions, one-off external university and grant-holder donations and library membership collective funding notably Knowledge Unlatched’s ‘Select’ programmes for individual titles. Many of its publications are in the area of media and communications but it has published book titles in history, philosophy, geography, education and politics. Its activities are overseen by a single UWP Editorial Board. 


The post-holder will be responsible for managing day to day operations and contributing to the strategic development of the University of Westminster Press (UWP), working with the UWP Editorial Board, authors, editors and colleagues, ensuring the continuous flow of open access articles/books from acquisition through peer review to post production dissemination, maintaining quality standards and promoting published content. They will work closely with colleagues to further develop the University’s Open Research Environment.


To apply for this vacancy please click above. Further information can be found in the job description and person specification, which can be accessed through link below. 


At the University of Westminster, diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity are at the core of how we engage with students, colleagues, applicants, visitors and all our stakeholders. 


We are fully committed to enabling a supportive and safe learning and working environment which is equitable, diverse and inclusive, is based on mutual respect and trust, and in which harassment and discrimination are neither tolerated nor acceptable.


Closing date: midnight on Sunday 25th July 2021


Interviews are likely to be held on: Tuesday 3rd August 2021

Plan S Archives – – Kreativität und Urheberrecht in der digitalen Welt (Open skimming: How scientific publishing changes in the transition to open access)

From Google’s English:

“Access to scientific texts free of charge and freely – this should soon become the standard. Scientific publishers are also trying to take advantage of the transition to Open Access, for example with fees for authors and data tracking. Tilman Reitz analyzes what the open access transformation means for science and what design options there are.”

Practical Idealism: UC’s Approach to Open Access

MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship at the University of California, Davis, provides the following commentary on UC’s recent transformative agreements with Elsevier and other publishers.

MyScienceWork to index award winning open access scholarly publisher Frontiers | EurekAlert! Science News

Research management tech provider MyScienceWork (MSW) is pleased to announce Frontiers research articles are now indexed in the MyScienceWork platform. Effective from June 2021, this partnership will enhance the research experience for academics, granting unrestricted access to an additional 200,000 rigorously certified research articles across 103 journals, spanning 866 academic disciplines to be read, cited and built upon.

Disturbance of greedy publishing to academia

Questionable publications have been criticized for their greedy behaviour, yet have not been investigated their influence on academia quantitatively. Here, we probe the impact of questionable publications through the systematic and comprehensive analysis for the various participants in academia compared with their most similar unquestioned counterparts using billions of citation records: the brokers, e.g. journals and publishers, and prosumers, e.g. authors. Our analysis reveals that the questionable publishers decorate their citation score by the publisher-level self-citations to their journals while they control the journal-level self-citations to evade the evaluation of the journal indexing services; thus, it is hard to detect by conventional journal-level metrics, which our novel metric can capture. We also show that both novelty and influence are lower for the questionable publications than their counterparts implying the negative effect of questionable publications in the academic ecosystem, which provides a valuable basis for future policy-making.