NSF Public Access Plan 2.0

“NSF’s updated public access plan integrates new agency guidance issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in August of 2022. This guidance, which includes zero-embargo public access for research publications and their supporting data, was developed with leadership from the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Open Science, in which NSF has always been actively engaged. NSF developed its plan while considering issues of importance to our many partners across academia and industry, and in alignment with all other U.S. agencies which fund scientific research. This plan is a first step, and we look forward to its further evolution as we address changes in technology and in the needs of members across our communities. Promoting immediate public access to federally funded research results and data is a critically important aspect of achieving the NSF mission of promoting the progress of science, securing the national defense, and advancing the national health, prosperity, and welfare. Indeed, scientific openness, academic freedom, scientific integrity, equity in science, and fairness are American values that rest on the pillar of public access to federally funded research and data….

The sections of this plan describe how NSF will ensure: • That all peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from NSF-funded research will be made freely available and publicly accessible by default in the NSF Public Access Repository, or NSF-PAR, without embargo or delay. • That scientific data associated with peer-reviewed publications resulting from NSF awards will be made available in appropriate scientific disciplinary repositories. • That exceptions to the data-sharing requirements will be made based on legal, privacy, ethical, intellectual property and national security considerations. • That persistent identifiers, or PIDs, and other critical metadata associated with peer-reviewed publications and data resulting from NSF-funded research will be collected and made publicly available in NSF-PAR. • That the agency coordinates with other federal funders of scientific research in implementing new public access requirements….

Primary areas of interest that will shape NSF policy as implementation approaches are formulated include: • Minimizing the equity impact of over-reliance on article processing charges, or APCs, also known as the “Gold Open Access” publication model, including inequity for fields, organizations or researchers lacking access to funding; consequences of possible citation bias; the impact on ability to fund research and training activities; and potential negative impacts with respect to public trust. • Promoting use of author’s accepted manuscripts, or AAMs, as a no-cost option to comply with public access requirements. • Minimizing the consequences of changing publishing ecosystems, including impacts for organizations least able to weather dramatic changes to subscription policies, which can increase precarity for those affiliated with these organizations. • Ameliorating the possible impacts of large APCs on small awards. • Involving affected communities regarding issues associated with data collection, data governance, verifying permitted data access, and data destruction, particularly for groups that have previously suffered from the appropriation or misuse of data. 19 • Ensure accessibility of data and results, including access to data cyberinfrastructures for under-resourced and underserved institutions/researchers, as well as considerations for persons with visual disabilities. 20 • Maximizing the reach and impact of U.S. research while seeking to minimize both access barriers in underresourced and underserved communities and challenges related to the language or interpretability of data. • Identifying the full range of costs (tangible and intangible) associated with data provision and addressing any inequities introduced by these costs. • Developing processes for addressing inequities identified in sharing and accessing research findings….”

Comments on EC Council Conclusions on scholarly publishing | Sesame Open Science

“I think these Council Conclusions are very welcome and important, as they align with, and in turn can support, a number of important current developments in how open access is perceived and implemented. One of these is the growing awareness, also among research institutions and funders, of the inequality and unsustainability of APC-driven open access publishing, especially by commercial or otherwise revenue-driven publishers. Another is a growing emphasis on important qualitative aspects of open access, in particular immediacy and open licensing.

In this sense, the Council Conclusions, together with for example the UNESCO Open Science Recommendations and the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access, to name but two, can help shift focus to other models of publishing. One thing I would like to emphasize is that while developing new publishing infrastructures (for example at national or even European level) is in itself a worthwhile avenue to pursue, many examples also already exist of non-profit publishing solutions that deserve support and recognition….”

A Milestone for OJSM – Bruce Reider, 2023

“Ten years later, the scientific publishing landscape had changed. Online publishing of medical journals had expanded tremendously and become the norm. Many readers, especially “digital natives,” primarily or exclusively accessed journal content electronically. Thus, a journal that was published solely online had the potential to be read widely and to enjoy reduced production costs. Outside of orthopaedics, open access journals in medicine and other scientific fields had demonstrated that a journal could be successfully financed via article processing charges (APCs) paid by the research sponsors, foundation grants, the authors’ institutions, or the authors themselves. Prominent journals such as Nature had begun to establish open access affiliates. I thought that the time was right to introduce the open access publishing model to the orthopaedic sports medicine community.

Together with our publishing consultant Morna Conway, I developed a plan for an open access affiliate for AJSM. Our publisher, Sage, was just entering the world of open access publishing in other fields and was enthusiastic about the idea….

If there was any skepticism about the open access concept in the orthopaedic community when OJSM first appeared, it seems to have evaporated. OJSM has received over 8000 submissions in its first decade, and the number continues to increase annually. More than 200,000 OJSM full-text articles are now downloaded monthly, clear evidence of the popularity of its content and the benefit of free, immediate access….”

How Scientific Publishers’ Extreme Fees Put Profit Over Progress | The Nation

“On April 17, the premier journal NeuroImage’s entire editorial team, comprising more than 40 scientists, resigned over the “unethical fees” charged by the journal’s academic publisher, Elsevier. With more than $2 billion in annual revenue, the publisher’s profit margin approaches 40 percent—rivaling that of Apple and Google. “Elsevier has become kind of like the poster child for evil publishing companies,” said neuroscientist Kristen Kennedy, one of the recently resigned senior editors.

Kennedy relies on taxpayer money to study the aging brain. At the University of Texas at Dallas, federal grants help fund the staff, equipment, and experiments in her lab. But this public money, largely from the National Institutes of Health, is being drained by exorbitant publishing fees….”

Open Voices: Malavika Legge, OASPA, on the future of Open Access publishing

“With all this focus on Open, last year, I made the move to OASPA, which has been really wonderful! At OASPA I am Program Manager, which means I’ve got the privilege of having a couple of focused projects to deliver OASPA’s mission to make Open Access better. My role is focused on two interlinked projects. One is called the OA Market where we are looking at money flows that are sustaining Open Access, so, how Open Access is being achieved from a financial/economic perspective. The second project is Equity in Open Access, which is a linked issue, because we have some concerns that the way Open Access is being delivered, as we see when we study the OA Market, is exclusive and has some equity issues….”

EU research ministers make fresh call for a full transition to free open access publishing | Science|Business

“EU ministers made a fresh call for open access to become the default mode for scientific publishing in a new set of Council conclusions today, prompting opposing reactions from the science community and journal publishers.

The Council conclusions call for a crack down on the unsustainable author fees that are currently propping up open science publishing, and undermining the ambition of making research results free to access. “We need to make sure that researchers can make their findings available and re-usable and that high-quality scientific articles are openly accessible to anyone that needs to read them,” said Mats Persson, Swedish minister for research, who currently holds the rotating council presidency chair.

The push for open access isn’t new and the EU has made a lot of headway with various initiatives and political statements. A big breakthrough came in 2018 in Plan S, under which a group of major research funding and performing organisations signed up to paywall-free science….”

Open access publishing: options for reduced or waived publication charges

“Open access publishing: options for reduced or waived publication charges

Lower income country authors wishing to publish Open Access articles can follow the links below for a range of publisher websites and find details of article processing/publishing charge (APC) fee waiver and discount policies or other subsidized publishing options.”

Best practices for APC waivers – Research4Life

“Article Processing or Publishing Charges (APCs) are a feature of some Open Access (OA) publishing models. Many publishers offer APC waivers to researchers from lower and middle-income countries. It can be difficult for eligible researchers to discover and understand what waiver policies exist and how they are applied.

These guidelines offer a checklist of considerations when setting and implementing a waiver policy and provide recommendations on how best to communicate your policy to potential authors from the Research4Life user community. 

These guidelines are not intended to influence how policy is set, only to make recommendations that provide maximum transparency and clarity for users, particularly potential authors….”

Is there a risk of APC-driven guest authorship?

Abstract:  While guest or honorary authorship on academic papers is a broadly and widely discussed phenomenon in biomedical research, the issue of the use – or abuse – of article processing charges (APCs) as a form of potential authorship exchange currency, i.e., the “APC ring”, is not being discussed. The APC is central to the open access (OA) movement, specifically gold OA, including hybrid subscription models. It is conceivable that poorly-funded researchers aiming to publish in ranked (e.g., with a Clarivate journal impact factor or indexed in a major database such as Scopus) OA journals with expensive APCs (sometimes costing thousands of US dollars or Euros) might turn to richer researchers to foot the bill in exchange for authorship. Despite this, extensive web and database searches revealed no published cases on APC-for-authorship schemes as a form of guest authorship, which seems inconceivable. One possible explanation is that if such unethical behavior, and a form of fraud, were to be detected by APC-charging journals, that it might not be reported as such. Alternatively, if it has been detected as such, it might be reported (e.g., to the public) more broadly as “authorship issues” without detailing that an APC-based guest authorship scheme (i.e., “APC ring”) was involved. In such a situation, APC-dependent journals would be conflicted between receiving a financial lifeline, the APC, and exposing authors that abuse the APC in exchange for authorship. How would OA publishers justify receiving APCs derived from an “APC ring”? Although this form of guest authorship is currently hypothetical, it is also highly likely, so this issue needs greater debate. If actual case studies exist, these need to be openly and publicly debated to better appreciate how widely this phenomenon may be taking place.

 

EU-Mitgliedstaaten betonen die Rolle von wissenschaftsgeleiteten Open-Access-Modellen jenseits von APCs | wisspub.net [Translation: “EU member states emphasize the role of science-driven Open Access models beyond APCs | wisspub.net”]

Translation: “EU member states emphasize the role of science-driven Open Access models beyond APCs | wisspub.net”

Open access publishing in India: trends and policy perspectives | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This study aims to analyze Open Access (OA) publishing trends and policy perspectives in India. Different aspects, such as the growth of OA journals digital repositories, the proportion of OA availability to research literature and the status of OA mandates and policies are studied.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for analyzing OA trends were gathered from multiple data sources, including Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), OpenDOAR, SCImago and Web of Science (WoS) databases. DOAJ and OpenDOAR were used for extracting OA journals and digital repository data. SCImago Journal and Country ranking portal and WoS database were used to obtain Indian publication data for assessing the proportion of OA to research literature. ROARMAP was used to study OA mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders in India. OA mandates and policies of major regulatory bodies and funding agencies were also reviewed using secondary sources of information and related websites.

Findings

India ranks number 15 and 17 globally for OA journals and OA repositories, with 317 journals and 98 repositories. Although India’s proportion to OA publications is 23% (7% below the world average of 30%), the annual growth rate of OA publications is around 18%. Although the governing bodies and institutions have made efforts to mandate researchers to adopt OA publishing and self-archiving, its implementation is quite low among Indian researchers, as only three institutions (out of 18 listed in the ROARMAP) are defined the embargo period. Funding agencies in India do not provide financial assistance to authors for the payment of Article Processing Charges despite mandates that research is deposited in OA repositories. India lacks a national OA policy but plans to implement a “one nation one subscription” formula to provide OA to scientific literature to all its citizens.

Research limitations/implications

The study has certain limitations. Because much of India’s research output is published in local journals that are not indexed in WoS, the study recommends conducting further analyses of publications using Scopus and other databases to understand the country’s OA publishing proportion better. A further study based on feedback from different stakeholders through a survey may be conducted for formulating a national OA policy.

Originality/value

The study is the first that used multiple data sources for investigating different facets of OA publishing in India, including OA journals, digital repositories, OA research output and OA mandates and policies for publicly funded research. The findings will be helpful for researchers and policymakers interested in promoting OA adoption among researchers worldwide.

EU governments to rein in unfair academic publishers and unsustainable fees | Science|Business

“Member states have almost settled on a call to make immediate open access the default, with no author fees. But some say the Council needs to do more to prevent AI-generated papers threatening the integrity of the scientific record.

Research ministers are nearing the finish line in drafting their position on changes needed in academic publishing, with the latest leak draft revealing the near-final text.

The upcoming paper, to be adopted by ministers in late May, will call on policymakers and publishers to make immediate and unrestricted open access, “the default mode in publishing, with no fees for authors.”

While there is a warm reception for this, there is concern that the Council is missing the opportunity to crack down on AI-generated scientific articles, given rising evidence that the AI chatbots like ChatGPT could undermine the integrity of academic publishing….”

Open Access & Open Science: failure is not an option for any party | LERU

“LERU welcomes the presently developed draft Council Conclusions on “high-quality, transparent, open, trustworthy and equitable scholarly publishing”, to be adopted at the Competitiveness Council meeting of 23 May 2023[1]. They take Open Access to the next stage of implementation across Europe and thus represent a key move in embedding Open Science into the European research landscape. Many LERU papers, on Open Access, Open Data and Open Science have advocated the same causes.

For LERU, it is important that the upcoming Council Conclusions recognize that the increasing costs for scholarly publishing associated with certain business models may cause inequalities in communities and actually prove to be unsustainable for research funders and universities. Many people are now aware of the increase in publishing prices and the spread of transformative agreements, a result of which is a consolidation of the oligopoly in the publishing system.

The essential problem occurs when there are no reductions in price but increases, and where the resulting coverage is low. The threat is what will happen if everything is flipped to Open Access with high APC charges, both individual and under an agreement….”

Brussels plan for rival OA platform ‘naive’ | Times Higher Education (THE)

“As anger mounts over cost of open access deals, moves to finance diamond journals and expand state-run digital platforms have divided opinion…

Calls to transform the European Union’s research repository into a “collective, non-profit, large-scale publishing service for the public good” that could rival commercial publishers have been described as “naive” and a distraction to the open-access mission by experts….

Amid growing unease over the high cost of several national open-access deals, including Springer Nature’s new three-year agreement with UK universities, the European Council was set to agree a motion that says “immediate and unrestricted open access” without author fees should become the “norm” in scholarly publishing.

The European Commission, which runs the €105 billion (£90 billion) Horizon Europe research funding scheme, should introduce funding policies to support open-access publishers that do not charge author fees, it adds. That might mean Horizon funding being tied to publication in so-called “diamond” journals, which are both free to read and publish in thanks to subsidies from universities, governments or other funders.

The memo, first presented by the Swedish presidency of the EU in February, also suggests a massive scaling-up of the EU’s open-access platform Open Research Europe (ORE), a site launched in 2021 that has fewer than 500 publications so far.

That proposal received a mixed response from the League of European Research Universities (LERU), which noted the scale of the proposed project was “massive” and a “single pan-European system is not likely to work successfully”.

Instead, the umbrella body suggested that what “Europe may really need is the development of an open, inter-connected, publicly owned infrastructure”, and urged the creation of funding calls to support university engagement with this kind of system….”

Publishers can’t be blamed for clinging to the golden goose

“In the old pre-digital days of [scholarly] publishing, the true costs of providing print-on-paper to would-be users required the services of another profession for the production and delivery. But (let’s cut to the quick) those days are over, forever. Online publication is not altogether cost-free, but the costs are so ridiculously low that all an S&S author needs pay for is a blog service-provider, rather like a phone or email service provider.

In this world, the idea of paying a £2,700 (US$3,400) per article fee to publish is as grotesque as it is gratuitous….

So, you should ask, with online publishing costs near zero, and quality control provided gratis by peer reviewers, what could possibly explain, let alone justify, levying a fee on S&S authors trying to publish their give-away articles to report their give-away findings?

The answer is not as complicated as you may be imagining, but the answer is shocking: the culprits are not the publishers but the S&S authors, their institutions and their funders! The publishers are just businessmen trying to make a buck. In fact, £2,700 is the same amount they were making per article before the online-access era, in the Gutenberg era of print-on-paper….

The publishers’ golden goose had been successfully converted to ‘Fool’s-Gold OA’ (open access), meaning continuing to pay the obsolete costs at the same price, but as author-end fees for publication instead of user-end subscription fees for access. (‘Fair-Gold OA’ would have been to charge only the tiny fee for managing the peer review.)

The publishers are to be congratulated for successfully pulling off this scam, with the obsolete 40% mark-up of £2,700 per article in exchange for next to nothing suspended above by a skyhook, gloating, like the Cheshire Cat’s smile.

It is not as if the S&S community had no other choice. ‘Green OA’ self-archiving had been offered to them as an alternative, with the University of Southampton providing the free software for creating Green OA institutional repositories as well as the model for institutional and funder mandates that would require all university researchers and all recipients of research funding to self-archive their refereed research therein, immediately upon acceptance for publication (‘or perish’)….

That policy would have forced the publishers to downsize to the minimal remaining costs of managing peer review. But superstition (and habit, and digital laziness – of the fingers) prevailed, and the publishers are still laughing all the way to the bank.”