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.

 

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.”

Interview with Beth Bayley, Karger Publishers – DOAJ News Service

“A very important aspect of our strategy is to embrace, contribute to and promote Open Science, which naturally means a major emphasis on a sustainable transition to open access (OA). Besides ensuring that our policies and services support OA, we’re also working with institutions to innovate flexible Publish and Read agreements (a.k.a. transformative agreements), launching OA journals, flipping journals and adopting the Transformative Journal model for some journals….

Ideologically, OA seems like a no-brainer. In a perfect world, there would be no barriers to lifesaving and enhancing knowledge based on where, or under what circumstances, people are born. However, the challenges to making all high-quality research openly accessible—with all the essential tools to make it discoverable and useful, and everything else publishers do—are real. I think platinum OA, where there is no charge for reading or publishing, could go far to reduce inequity so I’m especially excited about our platinum OA journals, which we call Partner Publications. They help make sure organizations have a voice in the global conversation and remove barriers to readers and authors….”

Transformative Journals – Delta Think

“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals….

The data suggest that historically, the OA proportion of journals’ output has not grown as fast as TJ requirements require:

Over the last three years, the total number of papers published across all journals currently marked as TJs is growing at roughly half the rate needed for them to continue to enjoy TJ status.
The number of journals meeting TJ requirements of OA growth is small. Only a dozen or so (out of around 2,000) have met TJ targets for each of the last three years. However, around two thirds have met TJ targets for at least one year out of the last 3.

The data also showed that only 20 or so journals (less than 1%) had over 75% OA uptake, while two thirds (68%) had 20% OA uptake or less. Smaller journals show the fastest growth in OA. Most of the larger ones appear to be virtually static….

The data suggest that the OA growth criteria for TJ status are aggressive, but not impossible. The current crop of TJs are on average growing OA proportions at around half the pace needed to be in compliance. (The average growth in OA uptake of hybrid journals from major publishers follows broadly similar patterns.) Many journals have previously met TJ targets for one year or even two, suggesting the challenges lie in adding to existing momentum, rather than building OA uptake from scratch.

 

However, the biggest caveat is timing. Support for TJs is due to be withdrawn completely in 2024, but two thirds of current TJs have less than 20% OA uptake. So many could meet their TJ targets, but still have only around one third OA uptake in 2024. Publishers would then be faced with a tough choice: flip minority-OA journals to fully OA, risk at least one third of output as zero-embargo Green impacting subscriptions … or fall out of Plan S compliance completely and lose one third of their submissions.”

Enabling smaller independent publishers to participate in OA agreements – information power

“An independent report released today by Information Power measures progress during 2020 and 2021 on Open Access agreements between consortia/libraries and publishers. OA agreements are now used around the world in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. During 2020 there was a clear uptick in the number of OA articles published in hybrid journals, which reverses a downward trend in the proportion of total articles published as OA in hybrid journals between 2016 and 2019. There is potential for further growth.

Smaller independent publishers – for example society publishers without a larger publishing partner, university presses, library presses, and small independent commercial presses – face some special challenges due to their scale. A number of practical task-and-finish groups are needed to align on shared principles, license language, data exchange, and workflows followed by engagement with standards bodies, intermediaries, and platform providers to ensure these can become embedded in practice.

The transition to OA requires change on the part of all stakeholders, and the report argues it is particularly crucial that there is active cross-stakeholder alignment focused on enabling smaller independent publishers to transition successfully. Amongst other things, the authors strongly recommend funders take steps to enable universities to aggregate all their expenditure with publishers via the library. They also encourage publishers who closely link the price of OA agreements to article volume to think carefully about more equitable models.”

Update Swiss Elsevier R&P Agreement – June 2021 | Open Access Monitoring

“After a first disillusioning analysis of the Swiss Elsevier Read & Publish Agreement (2020-2023) in August 2020, it is time for another update after 18 months of contract duration….

The low degree of exploitation is not due to the fact that Swiss authors publish less with Elsevier. Rather, many publications that could/should actually be Open Access by agreement remain Closed Access. My monitoring now shows 560 such Swiss Corresponding Author Papers, whose total APC list price amounts to €1.5 million. Publications for which Elsevier does not publish the submission date and therefore the eligibility cannot be determined with certainty are not even included in this number. Example: 10.1016/j.cagd.2021.102003

Why so many papers are closed access seems to have several reasons. I have received feedback from two authors that the option to OA was not displayed in the submission process, leading to suspicion that the affiliation identification at Elsevier is not working reliably.

 

Other authors apparently deliberately chose not to use the OA option because they feared hybrid costs. Since the Swiss OA community (and the SNSF) has been making researchers aware of hybrid and double-dipping for the past 15 years, this is actually good news….

An increase to 61% OA is without doubt a clear improvement over subscription-only. But the cost of this step is extremely high. Currently, the PAR fee for 2020 is over 6000€. If the quota is fully utilised, the PAR fee will come to 4500€ EUR….

Unfortunately, my conclusion from last year does not change much. Those responsible for this deal have quite unnecessarily embarked on something half-baked that no one can really be satisfied with (except Elsevier). It is true that the increase to 61% OA is positive, but only as long as one does not know the price. When I also learn that Swiss OA responsibles now have to chase authors when the submission did not work out with OA, we are actually at the point where we could have reached the 61% via Green Road OA without embargo with the same effort, but much less money. The millions could have been put into more worthwhile alternatives….”

International disparities in open access practices in the Earth Sciences

Abstract:  Background: Open access (OA) implies free and unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, OA publishing has seen a new wave of interest, debate, and practices surrounding that mode of publishing.

Objectives: To provide an overview of publication practices and to compare them among six countries across the world to stimulate further debate and to raise awareness about OA to facilitate decision-making on further development of OA practices in earth sciences.

Methods: The number of OA articles, their distribution among the six countries, and top ten journals publishing OA articles were identified using two databases, namely Scopus and the Web of Science, based mainly on the data for 2018.

Results: In 2018, only 24%–31% of the total number of articles indexed by either of the databases were OA articles. Six of the top ten earth sciences journals that publish OA articles were fully OA journals and four were hybrid journals. Fully OA journals were mostly published by emerging publishers and their article processing charges ranged from $1000 to $2200.

Conclusions: The rise in OA publishing has potential implications for researchers and tends to shift article-processing charges from organizations to individuals. Until the earth sciences community decides to move away from journal-based criteria to evaluate researchers, it is likely that such high costs will continue to maintain financial inequities within this research community, especially to the disadvantage of researchers from the least developed countries. However, earth scientists, by opting for legal self- archiving of their publications, could help to promote equitable and sustainable access to, and wider dissemination of, their work.

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

“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 today (June 9, 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.

The report indicates that during 2020 there was a clear increase in the number of open access (OA) articles published in hybrid journals, which reverses the downward trend between 2016 – 2019, and deems likely a further increase over the next few years, partly driven by new OA agreements.

Smaller independent publishers – for example, society publishers without a larger publishing partner, university presses, library presses, and small independent commercial presses – support open science, and they would like the journal articles that they publish to be open to people all over the world. However, due to their scale, a full transition to OA is a serious challenge. A single OA agreement with an institution is much easier for a smaller independent publisher to administer than many article transactions, unless of course each library or consortium wants a different sort of agreement. Libraries and consortia invest hugely in making agreements with publishers happen; however, there can be far less awareness within these organizations of how challenging the agreements are to implement highlights the report.

Practical collaboration in a number of targeted areas is needed to align on shared principles, license language, data exchange, and workflows, followed by engagement with standards bodies, intermediaries, and platform providers to ensure these can become embedded in practice.

The transition to OA requires change on the part of all stakeholders. The report argues it is particularly crucial that active cross-stakeholder alignment focuses on enabling smaller independent publishers to transition successfully. Among other things, the authors strongly recommend funders take steps to enable universities to aggregate all their expenditure with publishers via the library. They also encourage publishers who closely link the price of OA agreements to article volume to think carefully about more equitable models….”

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

“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 today (June 9, 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.

The report indicates that during 2020 there was a clear increase in the number of open access (OA) articles published in hybrid journals, which reverses the downward trend between 2016 – 2019, and deems likely a further increase over the next few years, partly driven by new OA agreements.

Smaller independent publishers – for example, society publishers without a larger publishing partner, university presses, library presses, and small independent commercial presses – support open science, and they would like the journal articles that they publish to be open to people all over the world. However, due to their scale, a full transition to OA is a serious challenge. A single OA agreement with an institution is much easier for a smaller independent publisher to administer than many article transactions, unless of course each library or consortium wants a different sort of agreement. Libraries and consortia invest hugely in making agreements with publishers happen; however, there can be far less awareness within these organizations of how challenging the agreements are to implement highlights the report.

Practical collaboration in a number of targeted areas is needed to align on shared principles, license language, data exchange, and workflows, followed by engagement with standards bodies, intermediaries, and platform providers to ensure these can become embedded in practice.

The transition to OA requires change on the part of all stakeholders. The report argues it is particularly crucial that active cross-stakeholder alignment focuses on enabling smaller independent publishers to transition successfully. Among other things, the authors strongly recommend funders take steps to enable universities to aggregate all their expenditure with publishers via the library. They also encourage publishers who closely link the price of OA agreements to article volume to think carefully about more equitable models….”

How to enable smaller independent publishers to participate in OA agreements

Abstract:  This work was carried out by Information Power on behalf of cOAlition S and ALPSP. The objective of this project was to measure progress on Open Access (OA) agreements since the SPA-OPS project ended in early 2020. The focus was on OA agreements between consortia/libraries and smaller independent publishers who face challenges in trying to negotiate and implement transformative OA agreements.

How to enable smaller independent publishers to participate in OA agreements

Abstract:  This work was carried out by Information Power on behalf of cOAlition S and ALPSP. The objective of this project was to measure progress on Open Access (OA) agreements since the SPA-OPS project ended in early 2020. The focus was on OA agreements between consortia/libraries and smaller independent publishers who face challenges in trying to negotiate and implement transformative OA agreements.

Guest post: The Fully OA agreement – an essential component of a diverse open access world – OASPA

“Much of the recent effort to transition scholarly publishing to open access1 (OA) has focused on ‘Transformative Agreements’2 that incentivize change among subscription or mixed-model publishers3. Supporting such publishers to transition to OA is important to transform the system of scholarly publishing. However, it is equally important to support existing fully OA publishers – who already deliver open content by default in ways that comply with Plan S and fulfill its original principles and spirit – and to recognize the centrality of their role in normalizing OA and bringing it to the mainstream. 

As fully OA publishers, we welcome the pivotal role institutions and libraries are playing in supporting open access, and we look forward to co-creating the systems and publishing agreements that will enable them to support their authors in publishing OA. …

Most fully OA publishers have published open access since their founding. While we have costs associated with developing new OA models, we do not have costs or issues related to transitioning from subscription publishing to a new publishing model. Moreover, we are confident in the efficiencies that our full focus on OA allows, and in the transparency of our finances. While Article Processing Charges (APCs) still dominate the OA business model, we have been instrumental in developing and experimenting with a myriad of other potential ways to support OA, including institutional agreements and membership-style models. We have also pioneered many of the important innovations in scholarly publishing that have developed alongside OA, such as article-level metrics, preprint facilitation, open data facilitation, peer review innovations, rapid publication, and waiver programs. We have also helped focus attention on the methodological and ethical rigor of research. In short, fully OA publishers are an instrumental and essential component of the scholarly publishing landscape. We add diversity and author choice and publish OA to serve our research communities without being compelled by a changing scholarly publishing landscape.

In this light, we encourage and propose a greater focus on “Fully OA” publishing agreements (sometimes referred to as “Pure Publish” agreements). While much time and energy is by necessity devoted to Transformative Agreements and transforming subscription models, we propose a balanced approach whereby institutions also partner with fully OA publishers to fulfill their open research strategies and serve the needs of their research and teaching communities. We are certain that libraries do not want authors to be forced (or simply habituated) into NOT choosing a fully OA publisher simply because institutional agreements exist only with transitioning subscription or mixed-model publishers. …”

The Royal Society sets 75% threshold to ‘flip’ its research journals to Open Access over the next five years | Royal Society

“In an exciting new chapter for its scientific publishing, the Royal Society sets out how it will transition its primary research journals to open access and make more of its world-leading research available to all.

Following a review by its Council, the Royal Society has committed to ‘flipping’ the journals Biology Letters, Interface, Proceedings A, and Proceedings B to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access.

This transition will be driven chiefly by the expansion of Read & Publish agreements with major research institutions, enabling their scientific research output to be published open access in the Society’s journals.

The process is already well underway, the Society launched Royal Society Read & Publish in January 2021 and has pioneered new agreements – including a shared funding arrangement announced this year with the University of California….”

Rights, sharing, and embargo policies

“Cell Press supports responsible sharing. We recognize that authors want to share their papers and we encourage this. Find out how you can share your paper here: www.elsevier.com/sharing-articles .

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There are, however, some differences between Elsevier’s general policies and those of Cell Press. Most Cell Press articles are under a press embargo until the article is published because we generate substantial media coverage for relevant articles….

We are happy to consider manuscripts previously posted on preprint servers such as arXiv(opens in a new window), bioRxiv(opens in a new window), BioRN(opens in a new window), ChiRxiv(opens in a new window), ChiRN(opens in a new window), or SSRN(opens in a new window). Some of our journals, including Cell Genomics, Cell Reports, Current Biology, and iScience, also support direct submission of manuscripts from bioRxiv and/or medRxiv via transfer of manuscript files and metadata to the journal’s Editorial Manager site. Our support for posting of preprints only applies to the original submitted version of the manuscript; we do not support posting to preprint servers revisions that respond to editorial input and peer review or final accepted manuscripts….

For authors submitting from January 2021 onwards all Cell Press journals offer an open access publishing option. We have a range of journals that are either full open access, where all articles are published on an open access basis, or hybrid open access, which offer a choice between subscription and open access publishing.

Authors of papers published by Cell Press can share their accepted manuscript (the post-peer-review version that does not incorporate copy editing and proofing) via non-commercial hosting platforms, such as their institutional repository, after a posting embargo period has elapsed (this is distinct from the press embargo mentioned above)….

Cell Press open access and hybrid research journals support open access publication for groups of authors from Research4Life (R4L) countries. For papers where all of the authors are from a Group A and/or Group B R4L country we will grant a waiver or discount of the standard publishing fee, as appropriate. For fully open access journals the R4L eligibility check will be automatic. For hybrid journals please highlight your situation to the journal team during the submission process so we can adjust accordingly….”

”Vi vill få ner kostnaderna för publiceringar” | Tidningen Curie

From Google’s English:  “One hundred percent open publishing, lower costs and a transparent pricing model. It is SUHF’s goal for the agreements between Swedish universities and scientific publishers that will replace the current ones that expire in 2024. A newly appointed inquiry will develop the strategy to get there….

We are afraid that the publishers want to permanently have the agreements we have today that we do not consider to be beneficial for the higher education institutions in the long term. If we get caught up in this, we are left to pay both to read and to publish articles and there will be hybrids, where some articles are open and others are not. We want a change in how publications are financed, says Wilhelm Widmark, who is chief librarian at Stockholm University Library and is part of the investigation group….”