Q&A: Phillip Sharp and Amy Brand on the future of open-access publishing | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“A group of MIT scholars is releasing a new white paper about academic open-access publishing. The paper gathers information, identifies outstanding questions, and calls for further research and data to inform policy on the subject.


The group was chaired by Institute Professor Emeritus Phillip A. Sharp, of the Department of Biology and Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, who co-authored the report along with William B. Bonvillian, senior director of special projects at MIT Open Learning; Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research; Barbara Imperiali, the Class of 1922 Professor of Biology; David R. Karger, professor of electrical engineering; Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, professor of science, technology, and society; Amy Brand, director and publisher of the MIT Press; Nick Lindsay, director for journals and open access at MIT Press; and Michael Stebbins of Science Advisors, LLC.


MIT News spoke with Sharp and Brand about the state of open-access publishing….”

Access to Science and Scholarship: Key Questions about the Future of Research Publishing

“The health of the research enterprise is closely tied to the effectiveness of the scientific and scholarly publishing ecosystem. Policy-, technology-, and market-driven changes in publishing models over the last two decades have triggered a number of disruptions within this ecosystem:

Ongoing increases in the cost of journal publishing, with dominant open access models shifting costs from subscribers to authors

Significant consolidation and vertical (supply chain) integration in the publishing industry, and a decline in society-owned subscription journals that have long subsidized scientific and scholarly societies

A dramatic increase in the number of “predatory” journals with substandard peer review

Decline in the purchasing power of academic libraries relative to the quantity and cost of published research To illustrate how researcher behavior, funder policies, and publisher business models and incentives interact, this report presents an historical overview of open access publishing.

The report also provides a list of key questions for further investigation to understand, measure, and best prepare for the impact of new policies related to open access in research publishing, categorized into six general areas: access and business models, research data, preprint publishing, peer review, costs to researchers and universities, and infrastructure.”

Open access movement in the scholarly world: Pathways for libraries in developing countries – Arslan Sheikh, Joanna Richardson, 2023

Abstract:  Open access is a scholarly publishing model that has emerged as an alternative to traditional subscription-based journal publishing. This study explores the adoption of the open access movement worldwide and the role that libraries can play in addressing those factors which are slowing its progress within developing countries. The study has drawn upon both qualitative data from a focused literature review and quantitative data from major open access platforms. The results indicate that while the open access movement is steadily gaining acceptance worldwide, the progress in developing countries within geographical areas such as Africa, Asia and Oceania is quite a bit slower. Two significant factors are the cost of publishing fees and the lack of institutional open access mandates and policies to encourage uptake. The study provides suggested strategies for academic libraries to help overcome current challenges.


Open access to journal articles of the American Society of Criminology: A little study to illustrate concepts and costs · CrimRxiv

There can be 100% open access (OA) to criminology articles. It’d increase criminology’s scientificity and impact. Anything less is a social injustice. To advance open criminology, the American Society of Criminology’s (ASC) Scientific Integrity Committee hosted the Green Open Access Webinar. The advertisement makes a bold proclamation: “ALL journal articles can be made open access for FREE… yes, 100% FREE.” Is the proclamation true? Now? Legally? How? Who has the power? I answer these questions in this Pub. I conclude with thoughts on how to allocate scarce resources for the greatest good. ROI matters because we can’t support everything; we need to choose. Money spent on gold OA could have better ROI if invested in the systematic provision of green OA. Instead of pay publishers APCs, pay the money directly to authors, editors, learned-societies, and others who can multiply the quantity and quality of OA by emphasizing what’s green over gold. 

If you’d like to disagree with me, correct me, or whatever, please do! Among other ways, you can “Post a discussion” at the Pub’s end or in-line. You’re also welcome to engage me on Twitter/X at @SJacques83. (I don’t have a Mastadon or Bluesky account yet, sorry; but it’s on my to-do list.)

The research funders Swedish Research Council, Forte, Formas, and Vinnova have made a strategic decision on a funding model to support publication with publishers that exclusively publish fully open access journals.

“A large portion of Swedish research is published with immediate open access. However, the output of the major, traditional publishers is still dominated by expensive hybrid journals with a substantial percentage of paywalled articles.

Fully open access publishers present an important alternative to the traditional publishers. These four funders have now agreed, as a first step, to jointly cover publishing costs with open access publishers during 2024 and 2025.

The goal is for as many publishers as possible to be included in this initiative, which will be implemented gradually over the coming years. Negotiations have begun during the fall, and an important part of these agreemens is that all researchers affiliated with any of the organisations participating in the Bibsam Consortium will be covered. In line with the conclusions of the EU’s Council of Ministers, stating that the costs of scholarly publishing should not burden either readers or authors, with this initiative, the funders contribute to promoting an open access publishing system.”

Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) and Ithaka S+R today publish “Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs: A University Press Study.” This report is the result of research funded by a Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to investigate the effect of open digital editions on the sales of print monographs.


IOI Receives $299,454 from National Science Foundation to Investigate “Reasonable Costs” for Public Access to US Federally Funded Research and Scientific Data

“We are excited to announce that Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) has received a generous grant of USD $299,454 from the National Science Foundation to investigate “reasonable costs” for public access to United States federally funded research and scientific data.

The Nelson Memo from the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy incentivizes national adoption of open science practices and aims to ensure all Americans benefit from ready, immediate, and free access to federally funded research. Even when those digital research outputs are free for users, there are significant costs involved with their creation, publication and management. How much are these costs? And who should pay for them?

In a publishing market notorious for extractive practices and perpetuation of inequities in knowledge production and dissemination, public access to research could come at a steep and uneven price to researchers and research institutions. Without clear guardrails, these costs are likely to be passed on to taxpayers by including publishing fees in research project budgets as “allowable expenses”.

This new NSF-sponsored research project from IOI seeks to gather the information needed about publishing costs in order to provide a foundation to address these concerns. Over the course of the next two years, we seek to deepen our understanding of the true cost of “public access” publishing today for prevalent science publication formats (including articles and data), how much research institutions are spending in anticipation of compliance with public access mandates, and how similar or different the approaches and choices are for research institutions of different tiers and demographics. We will identify the range of implementation scenarios arising in research institutions today while investigating and reporting on any disparities or challenges we find. This project is an opportunity to provide actionable research outputs, consistent with IOI’s focus on delivering tools that institutions, funders, and publishers can use to inform their policies, budget allocations, and future planning….”

Results from the COGR Survey on the Cost of Complying with the New NIH DMS Policy | Council on Governmental Relations

“For mid-size to large research institutions, the annual projected cost impact is expected to exceed $500,000 at the central administrative level, while also exceeding $500,000 at the academic level––a total impact that exceeds $1 million per institution. Cost impact is measured both by new expenditures and reallocation of effort away from an individual’s current responsibilities. In the case of Researchers and Investigators, this results in a shift away from conducting science in the lab toward tasks that might be considered more administrative in nature. For smaller and emerging research institutions, the cost impact also is expected to be significant, and for these institutions, the disproportionate negative impact may discourage their participation in the federal research ecosystem.”

Proceedings of the Expert Workshop openCost on the Road to Publication Cost Transparency

The DFG funded project „openCost” creates a technical infrastructure to comprehensively record publication cost data, make them openly distributable by means of standardized interfaces, and accessible by well known platforms like EZB, OpenAPC or the the OpenAccess Monitor.Besides presenting first results from openCost itself the main goal of the workshop is to create an opportunity for knowledge exchange between national and international experts in the field. It will allow them to present their perspectives in the area of publication costs and cost transparency and report on their experiences to ensure openCost is internationally adoptable.The expert workshop will summarizes the desiderata of the individual participants and the bodies they represent. These results will serve as a starting point to enhance and fine tune the current internal proposal for a metadata schema jointly developed by the openCost core members DESY Library for the JOIN² collaboration and the university libraries of Bielefeld (e.g. OpenAPC and the OpenAccess activities there) and Regensburg (electronic journals database and the OpenAccess projects there).With contributions from AT2OA, California Digital Library, Forschungszentrum Jülich, JISC, National Library of Finland, OA Switchboard, Open Access Monitor and Unpaywall and others.



Using the institutional repository to store data related to payments / Gernot Deinzer

JOIN² and openCost / Lisa-Marie Stein & Alexander Wagner

Extension of the OpenAPC infrastructure as part of the openCost project / Julia Bartlewski & Christoph Broschinski

Information Budget: 12 + 6 + 8 = 10 / Bernhard Mittermaier

Value Assessment of License Agreements and Publication Cost from a Norwegian Perspective / Jens H. Aasheim

Analysis of Open Access publication costs at Austrian Universities / Kerstin Grossmaier-Stieg & Christian Kaier

Cost Monitoring in Finland / Timo Vilén

Transform2Open — Cost monitoring, criteria, competencies, and processes of the Open Access transformation / Heinz Pampel, Tobias Höhnow, Lea Maria Ferguson, Bernhard Mittermaier & Irene Barbers

Spreading Publication Cost Information with the Electronic Journals Library (EZB) / Colin Sippl & Silke Weisheit

Publication cost transparency and the role of the Open Access Monitor Germany / Irene Barbers