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.

 

JBJS Open Access: 5-Year Update : JBJS

“JBJS Open Access was launched in 2016. Our goal was to publish an open-access orthopaedic journal that would provide readers throughout the world with the most current updates in their areas of interest1. From the outset, JBJS Open Access has had a dedicated Board of Associate Editors, who were carefully selected on the basis of their expertise, the quality of their contributions as reviewers, the breadth of their subspecialty interests, and their geographic locations, representing several continents. The Associate Editors utilize a well-established roster of expert JBJS consultant reviewers to ensure the quality of manuscripts. JBJS Open Access is dedicated to communicating the best evidence and most advanced data on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease worldwide, reflecting an international perspective. Our journal has had the full support of the Board of Trustees of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc., which is dedicated to producing a family of high-quality print and online publications related to the field of orthopaedics. Through the use of an online, continuous-publication model, JBJS Open Access publishes timely and relevant evidence-based manuscripts with the potential to positively impact musculoskeletal patient care around the world….”

Beginning of JPR’s great voyage to the open science world

“Many academic societies are currently undergoing this transition [to OA], and in the process, some major international publishers are double dipping, charging high subscription fees as well as expensive APCs. We strongly support open science initiatives and have long sought to move JPR to be a fully open journal. However, if we had continued to publish under Elsevier, moving to a fully open journal would have resulted in significant costs for both the authors and Japan Prosthodontic Society (JPS). After much discussion, we have finally made a decision regarding this crucial issue.

In 2021, JPS changed publishers, moving from Elsevier to J-STAGE, which now publishes JPR as a full-OA journal….”

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.”

Opening Access to AAA’s Publishing Future | Society for Cultural Anthropology

“The American Anthropological Association (AAA) publishing contract with Wiley comes to term in 2022. In light of this pressing deadline, several journal editors and section presidents have been meeting to uncover the common ground in our commitments and to determine what collective action might keep AAA’s expression of values front and center in our publishing practices and decisions.

We share AAA’s commitment to five “bedrock values” for our publishing program: quality, breadth, sustainability, access, and equity. Open access (OA) can be compatible with all five values, and should be a strategy that AAA considers deliberatively. We also advocate that in this moment of transition, AAA takes stock of ways in which all our interactions around publishing can become more democratic. We want more transparency around the publishing contracts and valuations that govern sections’ relative capacities. We want more input from editors as a collective in publishing decisions. And we want equitable labor practices that benefit our community.

We know from the 2020 AAA Editors Survey that there’s wide interest in and strong support for OA across AAA sections and journals. In June 2021, we carried out our own survey of twenty-seven journal editors and publishing section leaders, representing at least twenty-two AAA sections. We found that respondents had disparate understandings of what OA is and what it means for authors and journals. Nonetheless, 9 out of 24 respondents (37.5 percent) indicated that “if the AAA decides to renew its (previously 5-year) contract with Wiley and postpones discussion of Open Access publishing,” then “Yes,” their journal would “be interested in pursuing alternative means of going OA in the next year or so,” with another 13 (54 percent) indicating openness to the possibility (“Maybe”). Only 2 said “No.” We recognize that the questions OA raises about funding and revenue are significant. We further believe that once one learns more about the current academic publishing and OA landscape, these concerns are no longer as daunting….”

Balancing Investments in Open Access: Sustainability and Innovation · Commonplace

“Over the past year or so my colleagues at Temple University Libraries and I have been engaged in a project to assess various open access publishing initiatives. Led by myself and Collections Analysis Librarian Karen Kohn, our goal was to develop a plan for how the Libraries might more strategically use the collections budget to support the global transition to open. Towards this end, we organized all-staff discussions, brought in a speaker, and did a lot of reading about what other libraries are doing.

Throughout this project, I have been struck by what I see as the central tension within this work: we want to experiment and support innovative approaches to open access but at the same time we need these initiatives to be sustainable for our organization….

After a year spent learning, thinking, talking, and writing, our group came up with four priorities that will guide future decisions as to which open publishing initiatives we support. These priorities include:

Non-APC or BPC-based models

Initiatives that focus on disciplines that are less likely to have researchers with grant funding

Initiatives spearheaded by university presses or scholarly societies

Models in which the cost is comparable to a similar paywalled product and/or the change in cost over time is predictable…” 

Converting Access Microbiology to an open research platform: focus group and AI review tool research results | Microbiology Society

Abstract:  The Microbiology Society will be launching an open research platform in October 2021. Developed using funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the platform will combine our current sound-science journal, Access Microbiology, with artificial intelligence (AI) review tools and many of the elements of a preprint server. In an effort to improve the rigour, reproducibility and transparency of the academic record, the Access Microbiology platform will host both preprints of articles and their Version of Record (VOR) publications, as well as the reviewer reports, Editor’s decision, authors’ response to reviewers and the AI review reports. To ensure the platform meets the needs of our community, in February 2020 we conducted focus group meetings with various stakeholders. Using articles previously submitted to Access Microbiology, we undertook testing of a range of potential AI review tools and investigated the technical feasibility and utility of including these tools as part of the platform. In keeping with the open and transparent ethos of the platform, we present here a summary of the focus group feedback and AI review tool testing.

 

AAAS Plan S Compliance Policy: Staying Committed to Subscriptions – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Back in January, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced a pilot to allow authors funded by cOAlition S organizations that have adopted the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy to place a CC BY or a CC BY-ND license on their accepted manuscripts and to share them without embargo. 

Specifically, the AAAS License to Publish states that 

“AAAS licenses back the following rights to the Author in the version of the cOAlition S Funded Work that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, (the “Accepted Version”) but not the final, copyedited and proofed version published by AAAS (the “Final Published Version”): The right to self-archive and distribute the Accepted Version under either a CC BY 4.0 license or a CC BY-ND license, including on the Author’s personal website, in the Author’s company/institutional repository or archive, and in not for profit subject-based repositories such as PubMed Central, without embargo but only following publication of the Final Published Version.” …

The announcement of the pilot policy was widely reported on and was welcomed by cOAlition S in a special statement. Since that time, representatives of cOAlition S have repeatedly praised the AAAS policy in webinars and the like. This celebratory response has been a bit puzzling to me. Plan S aims to flip the publishing system to gold open access, with its various leaders often decrying the lack of progress in the two decades since the Budapest Open Access Initiative statement. Specifically, Plan S states that, “the subscription-based model of scientific publishing, including its so-called ‘hybrid’ variants, should therefore be terminated.” 

Yet in this case, cOAlition S is praising a publisher that is holding fast to the subscription-based model of closed publishing. And doing so even though this AAAS pilot policy is not a comprehensive route to compliance for Plan S since not all funders in the coalition have adopted the Rights Retention Strategy. Elsewhere I’ve observed that, over time, the implementation of Plan S has been marked by policies that “rehabilitate” journals into compliance. Is this another case of rehabilitation? …”

 

 

15th BERLIN OPEN ACCESS CONFERENCE ADAPT AND ADVANCE

“The 15th Berlin Open Access Conference (B15): Adapt and Advance, will be co-hosted by the University of California (UC) and Open Access 2020 Initiative (OA2020), and held virtually from September 28 to October 01, 2021. To facilitate global participation, the event will be offered twice: track 1 for the Americas, Australia and Oceania; and track 2 for Europe, Africa and Asia. To ensure B15 offers attendees ample opportunity to discuss, share and collaborate, participation will be limited to 200 people per track.

Similar to prior Berlin Conferences, B15 will assemble members of the global research community interested in furthering transformative open access frameworks, where publisher subscription agreements are transitioned into open access publishing models. B15 workshops and sessions will support both those who have already begun signing transformative agreements and those looking to build capacity in planning for negotiations. The conference will address key topics, including: …”

Résumé for Researchers | Royal Society

“This module can be used to explain how you have contributed to the generation of new ideas and hypotheses and which key skills you have used to develop ideas and test hypotheses. It can be used to highlight how you have communicated on your ideas and research results, both written and verbally, the funding you have won and any awards that you have received. It can include a small selection of outputs, with a description of why they are of particular relevance and why they are considered in the context of knowledge generation. Outputs can include open data sets, software, publications, commercial, entrepreneurial or industrial products, clinical practice developments, educational products, policy publications, evidence synthesis pieces and conference publications that you have generated….”

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.”

Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-Research and Open Science (AIMOS)

“AIMOS (the Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-Research and Open Science) seeks to advance the interdisciplinary field of meta-research by bringing together and supporting researchers in that field.

Science aims to produce robust knowledge and the concept of reproducible experiments is central to this. However the past decade has seen a ‘reproducibility crisis’ in science.

Across a number of scientific fields, such as psychology and preclinical medicine, large-scale replication projects have failed to produce evidence supporting the findings of many original studies. Meta-research will address this challenge head on….”

Publishers Support Open Science and Sustainable Public Access

[The statement is undated.]

“We believe any policy aimed at promoting public access to publications and research data should: • Promote equity through author choice by ensuring that all researchers—regardless of funding, discipline, career stage, or institution—are allowed to publish in their journals of choice, including those that ensure their publishing is economically sustainable through appropriate embargoes for free public access, such as the one-year embargo in existing policy. • Provide sufficient funding to researchers to enable cutting-edge research and discovery and to support investments in sharing their results, ensuring the quality and integrity of scholarly communication. • Protect academic freedom by empowering authors to publish in the outlets they feel have greatest potential to reach target audiences and advance the impact of their research. • Protect intellectual property—which is critical to safeguarding the integrity of authors’ work and provides essential incentives for market investment and innovation—and avoid compulsory license mandates that undermine IP and ignore the needs and preferences of researchers and differences between disciplines. • Support innovation in scholarly communication by fostering a competitive marketplace and a diverse range of business models to meet the needs of a wide variety of researchers and institutions. • Leverage existing initiatives that reduce compliance burdens and the need for taxpayer funding, building on existing infrastructures and voluntary open science practices for data, preprints, and publications. • Include publishers as stakeholders to advance broader priorities for the research ecosystem—including promoting equity and diversity in research and addressing critical public health and scientific challenges—and build partnerships between publishers, scientific societies, funders, libraries, and the academic community to advance a collaborative open science agenda….”

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the flagship journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, will transition to Open Access starting in 2022

“Starting with Volume 30, Berghahn Journals will be the new publisher of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. The journal will be leaving Wiley to embark on becoming a fully open access journal as a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro – Subscribe to Open (S2O) initiative, which will enter its third year in 2022….”

Statement on the Scholarly Merit and Evaluation of Open Scholarship in Linguistics | Linguistic Society of America

“Open Scholarship can be a key component for a scholar’s portfolio in a number of situations, including but not limited to hiring, review, promotion, and awards. Because Open Scholarship can take many forms, evaluation of this work may need different tools and approaches from publications like journal articles and books.  In particular, citation counts, a common tool for evaluating publications, are not available for some kinds of Open Scholarship in the same form or from the same providers as they are from publications. Here we share recommendations on how to assess the use of Open Scholarship materials including and beyond citations, including materials that both have formal peer review and those that do not not.

For tenure & promotion committees, program managers, department chairs, hiring committees, and others tasked with evaluating Open Scholarship, NASEM has prepared a discipline-agnostic rubric that can be used as part of hiring, review, or promotion processes. Outside letters of evaluation can also provide insight into the significance and impact of Open Scholarship work. Psychologist Brian Nosek (2017) provides some insight into how a letter writer can evaluate Open Scholarship, and includes several ways that evaluation committees can ask for input specifically about contributions to Open Scholarship. Nosek suggests that letter writers and evaluators comment on ways that individuals have contributed to Open Scholarship through “infrastructure, service, metascience, social media leadership, and their own research practices.” We add that using Open Scholarship in the classroom, whether through open educational materials, open pedagogy, or teaching of Open Scholarship principles, should be included in this list. Evaluators can explicitly ask for these insights in requests to letter writers, for example by including the request to “Please describe the impact that [scholar name]’s openly available research outputs have had from the research, public policy, pedagogic, and/or societal perspectives.” These evaluations can be particularly important when research outputs are not formally peer reviewed.

For scholars preparing hiring, review, promotion, or other portfolios that include Open Scholarship, we recommend not only discussing the Open Scholarship itself, but also its documented and potential impacts on both the academic community as well as broader society. Many repositories housing Open Scholarship materials provide additional metrics such as views, downloads, comments, and forks (or reuse cases) alongside citations in published literature. The use and mention of material with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) can be tracked using tools such as ImpactStory, Altmetric.com, and other alternative metrics. To aid with evaluation of this work, the creator should share these metrics where available, along with any other qualitative indicators (such as personal thank-yous, reuse stories, or online write-ups) that can give evaluators a sense of the impact of their work. The Metrics Toolkit provides examples and use cases for these kinds of metrics. This is of potential value when peer review of these materials may not take the same form as with published journals or books; thoughtful use and interpretation of metrics can help evaluators understand the impact and importance of the work.

The Linguistic Society of America reaffirms its commitment to fair review of Open Scholarship in hiring, tenure, and promotion, endorses all of these approaches to peer review and evaluation of Open Scholarship, and encourages scholars, departments, and personnel committees to take them into careful consideration and implement language about Open Scholarship in their evaluation processes.”