Diversity, sustainability and quality must be the hallmarks of academic publishing in Europe – The Guild

“Ahead of the June Competitiveness Council, where the ministers will be invited to adopt conclusions on research assessment and implementation of Open Science policies, The Guild urges the member states to ensure that Open Access serves science, not publishers.

While research excellence requires free flow of knowledge, some Open Access strategies and models increase the financial burden on research institutions. Article Processing Charges (APCs), used by some of the Open Access journals, exacerbate the unsustainable situation of journal spending in university libraries and create unequal access to knowledge. Greater transparency on the publication costs for Open Access journals, and fair and transparent contractual arrangements with publishers are crucial for monitoring the proper use of public research funding.

It is important to develop alternative and sustainable non-APC Open Access models. The Guild calls for the member states to support the development and uptake of Diamond Open Access journals and platforms which consist often of community-driven, and academic-led and owned publishing initiatives. Unlike other Open Access models, Diamond Open Access journals and platforms do not charge any fees from the authors or readers. Thus, they can further empower researchers to disseminate their research results, ensuring bibliodiversity and vital academic publishing….”

Diversity, sustainability and quality must be the hallmarks of academic publishing in Europe – The Guild

“Ahead of the June Competitiveness Council, where the ministers will be invited to adopt conclusions on research assessment and implementation of Open Science policies, The Guild urges the member states to ensure that Open Access serves science, not publishers.

While research excellence requires free flow of knowledge, some Open Access strategies and models increase the financial burden on research institutions. Article Processing Charges (APCs), used by some of the Open Access journals, exacerbate the unsustainable situation of journal spending in university libraries and create unequal access to knowledge. Greater transparency on the publication costs for Open Access journals, and fair and transparent contractual arrangements with publishers are crucial for monitoring the proper use of public research funding.

It is important to develop alternative and sustainable non-APC Open Access models. The Guild calls for the member states to support the development and uptake of Diamond Open Access journals and platforms which consist often of community-driven, and academic-led and owned publishing initiatives. Unlike other Open Access models, Diamond Open Access journals and platforms do not charge any fees from the authors or readers. Thus, they can further empower researchers to disseminate their research results, ensuring bibliodiversity and vital academic publishing….”

Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research

Abstract:  Open  Access  (OA)  emerged  as  an  important  transition  in  scholarly  publishing  worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research  process  and  thereby  necessary  to  perform  research.  This  study  analyses  the  global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different  OA  policies:  the  USA,  China,  the  UK,  France,  the  Netherlands,  and  Norway.  The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business  model.  Research publishing will be closed  to  those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.

Where is Open Access Publishing Heading? – ChemistryViews

“One of the first Gold Open Access (OA) titles published by Wiley, ChemistryOpen, has turned 10 years old! We are celebrating this milestone by taking the opportunity to reflect on the role of Gold OA in the current STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) publishing landscape.

Although many Open Access titles such as ChemistryOpen are now firmly established within chemistry journals, there are still some open questions about this publishing model in the community. This article attempts to address some of these frequently asked questions. Read more on the 10th birthday of ChemistryOpen and the history of the first society-owned Open Access title in general chemistry, the other types of OA publishing models, what is behind the payment of Article Publication Charges (APCs), and how publishing Open Access benefits you and your audience….”

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 Amazon.com 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….”

Making Research a Global Enterprise – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As we publishers publish articles on transparency and accountability of numerous systems ? from enterprises to national governments to global coordinating bodies ? can we be more open about our article processing charges (APCs) – how are they calculated and how much are they based on actual expenses versus charging for the journal’s perceived brand value ? …”

Alternative Publishing Platforms · Alternative Publishing Platforms

“In the title of the activity and this scoping paper we use the term ‘alternative’ with which we precisely envision those publishing platforms and projects that follow different paths (e.g. in equitable publishing models, quality control, technical features, open source, iterative publishing workflows, etc.) compared to the already mentioned legacy publishers. Although we use the term alternative, we recognize that this can also lead to narrowing or even ambiguity. Where necessary, we try to address this in the right way or to make it explicit in our results.

Alternative forms of publication have been explored by multiple stakeholders in the last two decades, with open access publishing being the most widely known, which encompasses, for example, the publication of peer-reviewed articles in full open access (with or without article processing charges (APCs)) journals, in hybrid journals (subscription based journals which allow open access publishing upon payment of an APC), or via deposit of the research output in a repository (green route). One issue that has emerged from making research findings publicly available for free is that a large commercial sector has relied on journal publishing as a income stream with often large profit margins. These commercial players have developed considerable power over academia because academic research assessment has become intrinsically entangled with journal publications, making them almost the be-all and end-all for researchers. Hence research organisations spend large proportions of their budgets on access to journal publications, through academics themselves paying for APCs or research organisations signing up to transformative agreements)….

Not all diamond journals can be considered as alternative publishing (platforms), but diamond journals can definitely make use of alternative publishing platforms such as infrastructure (including new, more inclusive, governance models). In addition, alternative publishing platforms can have diamond models. The connection between diamond journals and alternative publishing platforms is that they both can play a role in fulfilling the need that is felt for a form of open access that is characterised by lowering costs and keeping control of publishing, in terms of public and academic led governance. In addition to the problem of cost, there are several researchers’ needs which aren’t being met when publishing in traditional journals and why alternative platforms are seeing the light….”

FREE UKSG webinar – Library funding for Open Access at KU Leuven | UKSG

“At KU Leuven we believe that it is essential to apply library budgets to foster a greater diversity in the market of academic publishing. With this purpose in mind we have founded the KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access, which is exclusively devoted to stimulating the development of non-profit and community-led publishers, infrastructures and initiatives. During this presentation I will share some insights about the operation of such a fund, the type of open scholarship infrastructures and OA programmes we support, and explain our decision to cease financing article processing charges, even in a Fair OA business model….”

Neurosurgical publication – Should we publish at any cost? An in-depth analysis of costs incurred in publication. – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Objectives

With the recent paradigm shift in neurosurgical publications, open access (OA) publishing is burgeoning along with traditional publishing methods. We aimed to explore costs of publication across 53 journals.

Methods

We identified 53 journals publishing neurosurgical work. Journal type, submission and open access charges, colour print fees, impact indicators, publisher, and subscription prices were obtained from journal and publisher websites. Costs were unified in American Dollars. Mean prices per journal were used to equilibrate membership and subscription discounts. Correlations were performed using Spearman Rho (?), p<0.05.

Results

Of the 53 journals, 12 are OA-only, 40 are hybrid, and 1 is traditional. 22 and 43 journals provide their submission costs by end of phase 1 and 2, respectively (prices always for phase 2; 26 free of charge, 4 under $500, and 1 under $1000). Median OA charge is $3286 (49 journals; range $0-$7827). 36 of the 53 journals did not list print fees for colour figures (29 in phase 2). Median fee estimate per figure is $422 (range $25-$1060). Median personal subscription for 1 year is $344 (range $60-$1158; 48 journals). Median institutional subscription for 1 year is $2082 (Range $38-$5510; 34 journals). There is mild positive correlation between journal impact factor and OA fees (?=0.287, p=0.046).

Conclusions

The lack of easily accessible information about Neurosurgical publications, such as submission costs, or OA charges create unnecessary hurdle and should be remedied. Publishing in Neurosurgery should be a pleasant learning experience for the cost anxiety should not be a limiting factor.

University of California Libraries and JMIR Publications Renew Multi-Payer Open Access Agreement

“JMIR Publications has announced the renewal of our multi-payer agreement with the University of California (UC) for an additional year. Renewal of the agreement continues UC’s funding support for its affiliated authors who choose to publish in JMIR’s unique portfolio of journals, which focus on digital health and public health, and include a new generation of overlay journals (JMIRx). 

The pilot agreement was originally signed in 2020 and was the first multi-payer deal completed by UC with a fully open access publisher. According to the agreement, the 10 UC campus libraries contribute the first USD $1000 of any JMIR article processing charge (APC) for eligible authors. Protocols can be published free of charge for the authors. Authors are asked to pay the remainder of the APC from their research funds, if available. 

This cost-sharing model is designed to enable the UC libraries to stretch their available funds to support as many authors as possible. If an author does not have research funds to cover the balance, the UC libraries will pay the entire APC on their behalf, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish in JMIR’s open access journals. Under the renewed deal, UC authors will continue to benefit through December 31, 2022….”

Is Canada ready for open access? — University Affairs

“Canadian science could benefit enormously if all research articles in the country were made freely available to anyone immediately upon publication. But there are significant barriers that need to be overcome to achieve this.

Last year, 30 per cent of Canadian research was published as paid open access (OA). That’s slightly below the global average of 34 per cent but trailing many other high research output countries such as Sweden (54 per cent), Netherlands (50 per cent) and the United Kingdom (48 per cent), according to the  dimensions.ai database. As one of the top-quality research output countries in the world, according to Nature Index, Canada should be doing better. In our opinion, the fundamental reasons for the slow uptake of open access in Canada are (1) the lack of coordinated funding to support OA publishing, and (2) barriers that researchers face to publish in OA.

The Tri-Councils’ OA policy stipulates that any publications coming from research should be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. However, there is low compliance with this request. Researchers are expected to pay for open access via article publishing charges (APCs). As noted in the “Open Science Dialogues,” organized by the Office of the Chief Science Advisor (OCSA) to gain feedback on their Roadmap for Open Science, researchers are expected to pay these APCs from their research grants. Unfortunately, the APCs commanded by the high impact factor journals can represent an unfeasibly large percentage of the researchers’ total grant. APCs of US$5,000 to $10,000 are not uncommon for the prestige journals published by the large commercial publishers. But even the more moderate APCs of US$1,000 to $3,000 of lesser journals and those of not-for-profit publishers can also quickly deplete smaller research grants. For example, average NSERC grants in 2020 ranged from C$26,000 to $53,000, which leaves little room, if any, for the added expense of APCs….

The slow adoption of OA in Canada is probably not due to a lack of money per se. A back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of Canadian articles being published as OA multiplied by the average APCs (from publisher websites), suggests that C$30-40 million was spent on OA publishing last year, 80 per cent of which was spent with the large commercial publishers….

So can Canada achieve a national OA strategy? We believe so, but to overcome the barriers we need an approach that captures the following principles:

Unity: bring together all stakeholders in the scientific research enterprise to establish a unified front and determine priorities, requirements and challenges.
Coordination: to move beyond consultation, there is a need for a coordinating body to establish a path forward, timelines, funding needs and to organize this collaborative action.
Evidence: There is an immediate need to assess data on costs, sources of funds being allocated to subscriptions and APCs, trends in OA publishing outputs, and to determine if there is sufficient existing funding to support a full switch to OA….”

Three Paths to Open Access Handout

“Three Paths to Open Access is a handout that can be shared with researchers to provide an overview of three common options for making their work open access. The content can be edited to better reflect your institution’s open access support services. For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, see our YouTube video, Three Routes to Open Access: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkSLywLnS9c …”

Eine postdigitale Bibliothek der Kunstgeschichte – Gespräch mit Golo Maurer von der Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rom (1) – Aus der Forschungs­bibliothek Krekelborn

From Google’s English:  “Open Access (OA) has nothing to do with publishing suddenly becoming free. There are no volunteers doing slave service. If the publication is to have quality, it has to be edited and proofread, it has to be set and provided with illustrations, etc., just as it used to be. The costs only shift, but have to be paid for. The Max Planck Digital Library (MPDL) has an interesting financing model: It assumes that one third of the costs will be paid by the MPDL, one third by the publisher and one third by the author. The publisher can pursue a double strategy by offering the online publications in OA mode, but at the same time producing print copies that are subject to a fee. Such are still wanted by some institutions and private individuals.  …

If you, as a non-institutional author, want to publish your contribution OA, either the publisher has to bear all the costs or you share them with the publisher. In this respect, OA is window dressing….”

Open access: Brazilian scientists denied waivers and discounts

“A study comparing open-access versus paywalled publications finds less geographical diversity among authors who choose open access (see Nature https://doi.org/gpkt87; 2022). This does not surprise us in Brazil, where article-processing charges (APCs) typically correspond to many months, or even years, of a scientist’s stipend. Yet we are not eligible for waivers or discounts under the open-access initiative Plan S (see go.nature.com/3d1qh), or for research-accessibility programmes such as Research4Life.

Both schemes support publications from low-income and lower-to-middle-income economies. Because Brazil is classed as an upper-middle-income economy, requests for APC waivers and discounts are generally turned down, in our experience. Many of us opt instead to publish behind paywalls. But that might not be possible after 2024, when Plan S transformative agreements will end and journals will transition to exclusively publishing open-access content….”