COST Actions can now submit to Open Research Europe

“COST is pleased to announce that COST Actions can now to submit directly to Open Research Europe (ORE), the European Commission’s Open Access publishing platform for research.

ORE is an original publishing venue, like a journal, not a repository (where papers already published somewhere else are deposited). The platform offers a free, reliable, peer-reviewed publishing service of high scientific quality, with swift publication times and rigorous scientific standards. Importantly, ORE gives everyone, researchers and citizens alike, free-of-charge access to the latest scientific discoveries….”

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

Which Factors Drive Open Access Publishing? A Springer Nature Case Study

Open Access (OA) facilitates access to articles. But, authors or funders often must pay the publishing costs preventing authors who do not receive financial support from participating in OA publishing and citation advantage for OA articles. OA may exacerbate existing inequalities in the publication system rather than overcome them. To investigate this, we studied 522,664 articles published by Springer Nature. Employing statistical methods, we describe the relationship between authors affiliated with countries from different income levels, their choice of publishing (OA or closed access), and the citation impact of their papers. A machine learning classification method helped us to explore the association between OA-publishing and attributes of the author, especially eligibility for APC-waivers or discounts, journal, country, and paper. The results indicate that authors eligible for the APC-waivers publish more in gold-OA-journals than other authors. In contrast, authors eligible for an APC discount have the lowest ratio of OA publications, leading to the assumption that this discount insufficiently motivates authors to publish in a gold-OA-journal. The rank of journals is a significant driver for publishing in a gold-OA-journal, whereas the OA option is mostly avoided in hybrid journals. Seniority, experience with OA publications, and the scientific field are the most decisive factors in OA-publishing.

Frontiers | neuPrint: An open access tool for EM connectomics

Abstract:  Due to advances in electron microscopy and deep learning, it is now practical to reconstruct a connectome, a description of neurons and the chemical synapses between them, for significant volumes of neural tissue. Smaller past reconstructions were primarily used by domain experts, could be handled by downloading data, and performance was not a serious problem. But new and much larger reconstructions upend these assumptions. These networks now contain tens of thousands of neurons and tens of millions of connections, with yet larger reconstructions pending, and are of interest to a large community of non-specialists. Allowing other scientists to make use of this data needs more than publication—it requires new tools that are publicly available, easy to use, and efficiently handle large data. We introduce neuPrint to address these data analysis challenges. Neuprint contains two major components—a web interface and programmer APIs. The web interface is designed to allow any scientist worldwide, using only a browser, to quickly ask and answer typical biological queries about a connectome. The neuPrint APIs allow more computer-savvy scientists to make more complex or higher volume queries. NeuPrint also provides features for assessing reconstruction quality. Internally, neuPrint organizes connectome data as a graph stored in a neo4j database. This gives high performance for typical queries, provides access though a public and well documented query language Cypher, and will extend well to future larger connectomics databases. Our experience is also an experiment in open science. We find a significant fraction of the readers of the article proceed to examine the data directly. In our case preprints worked exactly as intended, with data inquiries and PDF downloads starting immediately after pre-print publication, and little affected by formal publication later. From this we deduce that many readers are more interested in our data than in our analysis of our data, suggesting that data-only papers can be well appreciated and that public data release can speed up the propagation of scientific results by many months. We also find that providing, and keeping, the data available for online access imposes substantial additional costs to connectomics research.

 

Paying to publish in Open Access journals: Is all that glitters gold? – World leading higher education information and services

“The gold magazines are mostly in the hands of commercial publishers. Here open access is paid for by authors who pay what are known as article processing charges (APC), that is, article processing costs.

In this case, they are companies whose main and legitimate objective is to make money by publishing scientific journals.

What is striking when comparing APC price lists is the extraordinary diversity (in Elsevier from €170 to €8,500, in Springer-Nature from €505 to €9,500, in Taylor & Francis from €570 to €4,560). , in MDPI from €400 to €2,080) for products with similar fixed costs. But, above all, the marked differences between journals of the same nature and discipline are striking: publishing in a Philosophy journal can cost from €800 (MDPI) to €2,390 (Springer-Nature) or €2,870 (Elsevier)….”

Financial transparency at EMBO Press – Features – EMBO

“The bottom line remains the same as two years ago: covering our basic publication costs would require raising APCs to just short of 9,000 euros per research article. Thus, a financially sustainable transition to a Gold OA model at all four EMBO Press journals would represent a challenge for many authors not supported by dedicated publication funds, effectively excluding them based on financial, and not scientific, criteria.   

The scientific community and its funders must decide if – or literally how much – they value high-quality selective journals, open-access, open science, and journalistic content. Through transparency, EMBO and EMBO Press want to contribute to grounding this debate in the financial realities of scientific publishing.”

Full article: Unsub in Real Life: Using Unsub as Part of Serials Decisions and Negotiations

Abstract:  This presentation introduced attendees to the benefits and limitations of Unsub, a data analysis tool designed by OurResearch. In this presentation, OurResearch co-founder, Heather Piwowar, demonstrated the use of Unsub for analyzing usage and cost data on a library’s “Big Deal.” The other two presenters, Jessica Harris of the University of Chicago, and Eric Schares of Iowa State University, discussed how they used the tool at their libraries to make collection development decisions for their libraries’ journal subscriptions.

Opinion: Is Open Access Worth the Cost?

The million-dollar question is: Are these extremely high APCs reasonable? Because many types of running costs, such as staff wages, scale with the volume of the journal, it is not difficult to grasp that the average cost per article depends on the number of annual publications. A journal that publishes fewer articles needs to charge a higher APC to maintain the same profit margin.

How to make more than 200 monograph titles available OA annually on a small-ish budget

When it comes to library budgets, how far can £10,000 stretch? Access to a small database, a couple of journals, a handful of article processing charges (APCs), maybe one OA book via a book processing charge (BPC)?

That figure might also support scholar-led and small university presses to publish more than 200 front-list monographs annually on an immediate open access (OA) basis. Sound interesting?

Jisc has been supporting a number of OA monograph community agreements, which operate on a few different models, but all with the aim of raising sufficient income to allow the publication of new monograph content without needing to charge the author a BPC.

 

Leistungen und Kostenrahmen für zeitgemäße Open-Access-Publikationen in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften: Vorschlag für eine Differenzierung von Open-Access-Gebühren verlagstypischen Leistungen entsprechend

From Google’s English:  Abstract:  This paper is to be understood as the interim result of an exchange that has been ongoing since April 2020 within the AG Open Access Financing of the Enable! community. The authors are pursuing the intention of making the services and the associated cost framework for open access book publications transparent and comprehensible in order to accelerate the open access transformation. The paper cannot and should not be considered a recommendation by the Enable! community, but rather a substantial contribution to the discussion. The authors emphasize that the costs for individual work steps and areas mentioned below vary both from publication to publication and between the publishers represented here. The 300-page average book modeled here is the result of a methodical reduction for the purpose of better illustration. Some points remain unanswered in the current state of discussion, these are namely the question of the publisher’s profit and the calculation approach to be taken as a basis for this.

Open Access Books: do we need a Plan S moment? – Digital Science

To judge from the progress of Open Access (OA) journal articles, you could be mistaken for thinking OA was the new paradigm for all research: a swift look at the charts below tells you everything you need to know.

According to Unpaywall and Dimensions, one by one the disciplines have tipped from majority-closed to majority-open. Life Sciences was the first to tip in 2013; Medical and Health Sciences followed in 2016; then the Social Sciences and Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 2017. The Humanities joined the majority open in 2020; and Engineering and Technology were at parity in 2021.

So what of books? While we can say with confidence that rates of OA publishing for both monographs and collected works have doubled over the last 10 years, the proportion of OA books remains very low, barely troubling the dominance of the traditional pay model. It’s possible to see a small increase in the last two years – which could be a consequence of more publishers making books ‘freely available’ during COVID (but, lacking a CC- licence not matching the formal status of being ‘Open Access’). Whether or not this trend continues, in a post-pandemic world, is a question that we’ll need to return to in 2024…

 

Factors Associated with Open Access Publishing Costs in Oncology Journals

Background Open access (OA) publishing represents an exciting opportunity to facilitate dissemination of scientific information to global audiences. However, OA publication is often associated with significant article processing charges (APCs) for authors, which may thus serve as a barrier to publication.

Methods We identified oncology journals using the SCImago Journal & Country Rank database. All journals with an OA publication option and APC data openly available were included. We searched journal websites and tabulated journal characteristics, including APC amount (USD), OA model (hybrid vs full), 2-year impact factor (IF), H-index, number of citable documents, modality/treatment specific (if applicable), and continent of origin. We generated a multiple regression model to identify journal characteristics independently associated with OA APC amount.

Results Of 367 oncology journals screened, 251 met final inclusion criteria. The median APC was 2957 USD (IQR 1958-3450). On univariable testing, journals with greater number of citable documents (p<0.001), higher IF (p < 0.001), higher H-index (p < 0.001), and those using the hybrid OA model (p < 0.001) or originating in Europe/North America (p < 0.001) tended to have higher APCs. In our multivariable model, number of citable documents, IF, OA publishing model, and region persisted as significant predictors of processing charges.

Conclusions OA publication costs are greater in oncology journals that publish more citable articles, utilize the hybrid OA model, have higher IF, and are based in North America or Europe. These findings may inform targeted action to help the oncology community fully appreciate the benefits of open science.

 

Decreasing Costs of Dissemination of Research Results by Publishing in Diamond Open Access Journals – PMC

“As always, you can read these articles for free, with neither you nor your institution having to pay for their access. The authors did not have to pay for publishing their manuscripts either. Food Technology and Biotechnology is a so-called diamond open access journal. It means that its budget is provided by financial supports of public institutions like the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, Croatian Society for Biotechnology, as well as the publisher – Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology of the University of Zagreb. Diamond open access journals constitute a rather small share of scientific journals in science communication spectrum in which the financiers are neither readers (through institutional library subscriptions), nor authors through article processing charges. Although the number of papers published in diamond OA journals is not high, they are often referred to as the publishing model of the future. The financial pattern in which journals are financed by public institutions, ministries or other state bodies like universities or professional associations avoids high charges imposed by private publishers, liberating more funds for direct research costs, or scientific infrastructure. The model is in line with the ultimate intentions announced by the cOAlition S and formulated in Plan S (1), although other business models for scientific publishing are discussed within this plan, as well. At first sight, diamond OA journals seem like the best solution both for the researchers aiming to publish their results without devoting much of their project funds for this purpose, and to those aiming to access them freely and easily. However, public financing may have pitfalls of their own. Stable long-term financing may be a problem for smaller professional associations whose income may vary significantly from year to year and may depend on the current leadership. Such societies may lose motivation to maintain a journal, particularly if it does not gain any income but whose publishing creates a significant expense. Universities and larger societies with higher annual income may prove as more stable financiers as scientific communication is a part of their ’core business’. Indeed, considering technical possibilities and informatics infrastructure in place at most universities, scientific publishing should not present a significant financial burden. Actually, most diamond access journals are indeed funded by universities (2). On the other hand, journals financed by state public institutions like ministries, public foundations or other bodies distributing public funds may depend on the current political option and their changes may lead to different political decisions reflecting on science budgets and, consequently, scientific journal financing. Besides, it should be noted that some of the high budget professional associations create most of their incomes through publishing activities, sometimes engaging large publishers for their journals. For these societies a turn towards diamond open access would require a significant change in the structure of their annual income. Thus, in a system in which a larger segment of scientific results would be published in diamond open access journals, finding stable sources of income would be a difficult but indispensable task for scientific journal publishers. This conclusion has been strongly corroborated by a large study funded by Science Europe in order to gain a better insight in the OA diamond landscape (2). The study estimated the number of diamond open access journals at around 29 000. Most of these journals are not included in DOAJ, they are smaller in size and publish less than 25 papers per year, many of them are issued annually, and most of them belong to social sciences and humanities. The majority of them are published in Europe and South America by small publishers who publish between 1 and 5 journals. More than 70% of diamond OA journals are published by universities, around 15% by publishing companies, while 10% belong to professional associations. Concerning their operation and financing, most diamond open access journals face operational challenges and rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers. As such, they declare a need to develop infrastructure and to increase funding to support their operations. Securing sufficient and stable funding from sources who would not gain profit from publishing may at least partly be facilitated by decreasing the costs and the overall budget of the journal. More than 70% of diamond OA journals have an annual budget lower than 10 000 euro. This, however, contradicts the increasing demands of the scientific community for fast, simple, and high-quality publishing process. A variety of informatics tools designed for handling manuscripts, correspondence among authors, editors and reviewers, as well as on-line publishing with concomitant abandoning printed versions may lead to less expensive dissemination of scientific results. Development of such tools and their distribution among journals, as w