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

Scholarly Journals: A Modest Proposal

Therefore, I am instead suggesting that colleges and universities strategically invest directly in the publishing process and industry through various forms of sponsorship, partnership, or even outright ownership. Today, with outsourcing and partnerships becoming the norm, why shouldn’t scholarly output follow suit? Why not expend campus resources in ways that give institutions more control over costs and modes of distribution? Doing so could begin to erode the commercial publishing conglomerates’ stranglehold on scholarly output and put at least some of that control back into the hands of those who produce this output. Perhaps this could be characterized as extending the Diamond approach of institutional funding to underwrite free and open access in a strategic way that provides more direct benefit to the funding academic institutions and, just as importantly, increased power in the marketplace.

A significant number of institutions are already paying extra to make their faculty publications OA. Why should these institutions waste funds on up-front fees that fail to move us any closer to universal OA and that keep commercial publishing monopolies in control of the marketplace? If more colleges and universities were to take up the charge and invest in at least one high-quality OA journal through sponsorship, partnership, or ownership, the academic community could begin to take charge of its own intellectual property and change the scholarly journal marketplace. Crazy idea? Perhaps. Who would be willing to invest, why would they do so, what would be the result, and how would it happen?

Open access journals are as likely to be referenced by the Orthopaedic literature, despite having a lower impact factor than subscription-based journals | SICOT-J

Background: The internet has changed the way we access and publish Orthopaedic literature. Traditional subscription journals have been challenged by the open access method of publication which permits the author to make their article available to all readers for free, often at a cost to the author. This has also been adopted in part by traditional subscription journals forming hybrid journals. One of the criticisms of open access publications is that it provides the author with a “pay to publish” opportunity. We aimed to determine if access to the journals impacts their influence. Methods: We selected the top 40 Trauma and Orthopaedic Journals as ranked by the SCImago Rank. Each journal was reviewed and assessed for the journal quality, defined by reviewing the journal impact factor and SCImago rank; influence, defined by reviewing the top 10 articles provided by the journal for the number of citations; and cost of open access publication. Results: Of the top 40 journals, 10 were subscription, 10 were open access, and 20 were hybrid journals. Subscription journals had the highest mean impact factor, and SCImago rank with a significant difference in the impact factor (p = 0.001) and SCImago rank (p = 0.021) observed between subscription and open access journals. No significant difference was seen between citation numbers of articles published in subscription and open access journals (p = 0.168). There was a positive correlation between the cost of publishing in an open access journal and the impact factor (r = 0.404) but a negative correlation between cost and the number of citations (r = 0.319). Conclusion: Open access journals have significantly lower quality measures in comparison to subscription journals. Despite this, we found no difference between the number of citations, suggestive of there being no difference in the influence of these journals in spite of the observed difference in quality.

Prioritizing academic publishers

“When the late Jon Tennant and I filed our formal complaint to the European Commission in 2018, in which we detailed how scholarly journal publishing was not a market but a collection of small monopolies, we had no idea that the EC was already well aware of that fact and saw nothing wrong with it. In fact, their reply at the time surprised us, when it indicated that the EC concurred with our description of scholarly journals being collections of monopolies, but saw levers for regulation/mitigation elsewhere.

Today, I have been privy to the informal brief written by a legal expert of the GFF mentioned above. It cites two prior EC instances from 2003 and 2015 where the EC had already acknowledged the lack of a genuine market due to the lack of substitutability (the reply to our complaint is thus just one in a long list of such documents acknowledging the lack of competition in scholarly publishing)….

The quote here is an example of how the EC is well aware of the conflicting interests between readers and libraries on the one hand (demand-side) and publishers (supply-side) on the other, while at the same time expressing a clear prioritization (“confirmed the relevance”) of the interests of the supply-side over the interests of the demand-side. The dysfunctionality of the current situation for readers and libraries is understood, acknowledged and dismissed by the EC as “not relevant” – very similar to the reply we received for our formal complaint. In this particular quote, a fig-leaf is offered by stating that the big publishers cover many scholarly fields, leading to each library having contracts with several publishers, giving the superficial impression that there would be several suppliers in a “supply-side” market. The sentence just prior, however, makes it clear that this is, in fact, not really a genuine market, but one that exists only on paper, solely for regulatory purposes….”

Blog – Open Access Flips Hundreds of Years of Scientific Research | Linux Professional Institute

“We have viewed the spirit of openness from many angles—in free software, open government, and many other trends—in the Open Anniversary series published on this LPI site during 2021. No field has been more transformed by this spirit than academic research, represented by the Open Access movement. This article discusses the major aspects of Open Access, along with the role of Creative Commons licenses.

The first article in this two-part series lays out the concepts and concerns with Open Access….”

A billion-dollar donation: estimating the cost of researchers’ time spent on peer review | Research Integrity and Peer Review | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

The amount and value of researchers’ peer review work is critical for academia and journal publishing. However, this labor is under-recognized, its magnitude is unknown, and alternative ways of organizing peer review labor are rarely considered.

Methods

Using publicly available data, we provide an estimate of researchers’ time and the salary-based contribution to the journal peer review system.

Results

We found that the total time reviewers globally worked on peer reviews was over 100 million hours in 2020, equivalent to over 15 thousand years. The estimated monetary value of the time US-based reviewers spent on reviews was over 1.5 billion USD in 2020. For China-based reviewers, the estimate is over 600 million USD, and for UK-based, close to 400 million USD.

Conclusions

By design, our results are very likely to be under-estimates as they reflect only a portion of the total number of journals worldwide. The numbers highlight the enormous amount of work and time that researchers provide to the publication system, and the importance of considering alternative ways of structuring, and paying for, peer review. We foster this process by discussing some alternative models that aim to boost the benefits of peer review, thus improving its cost-benefit ratio.

The Art of Publishing Reproducible Research Outputs: Supporting emerging practices through cultural and technological innovation. | Zenodo

Abstract:  Reproducibility and transparency can be regarded (at least in experimental research) as a hallmark of research. The ability to reproduce research results in order to check their reliability is an important cornerstone of research that helps to guarantee the quality of research and to build on existing knowledge. The digital turn has brought more opportunities to document, share and verify research processes and outcomes. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for more transparency with regard to research processes and outcomes. This fits well with the open science agenda requiring, amongst others, open software, open data, and open access to publications even if openness alone does not guarantee reproducibility.

 

The purpose of this activity of Knowledge Exchange was to explore current practices and barriers in the area of research reproducibility, with a focus on the publication and dissemination stage. We wanted to determine how technical and social infrastructures can support future developments in this area. In this work, we defined research reproducibility as cases where data and procedures shared by the authors of a study are used to obtain the same results as in their original work.

 

We captured the views of research funding organisations, research performing organisations, learned societies, researchers, academic publishers and infrastructure and service providers. We did a comprehensive literature review and a series of interviews and focus groups with a total of 51 contributors. The results of our activity give answers to the following questions:

 

·       What are the main benefits and barriers of publishing reproducible research outputs?

·       What are the roles of the different stakeholders involved?

·       How expensive are reproducibility checks?

·       What kind of digital tools and infrastructure are needed to publish reproducible research output?

The Art of Publishing Reproducible Research Outputs: Supporting emerging practices through cultural and technological innovation. | Zenodo

Abstract:  Reproducibility and transparency can be regarded (at least in experimental research) as a hallmark of research. The ability to reproduce research results in order to check their reliability is an important cornerstone of research that helps to guarantee the quality of research and to build on existing knowledge. The digital turn has brought more opportunities to document, share and verify research processes and outcomes. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for more transparency with regard to research processes and outcomes. This fits well with the open science agenda requiring, amongst others, open software, open data, and open access to publications even if openness alone does not guarantee reproducibility.

 

The purpose of this activity of Knowledge Exchange was to explore current practices and barriers in the area of research reproducibility, with a focus on the publication and dissemination stage. We wanted to determine how technical and social infrastructures can support future developments in this area. In this work, we defined research reproducibility as cases where data and procedures shared by the authors of a study are used to obtain the same results as in their original work.

 

We captured the views of research funding organisations, research performing organisations, learned societies, researchers, academic publishers and infrastructure and service providers. We did a comprehensive literature review and a series of interviews and focus groups with a total of 51 contributors. The results of our activity give answers to the following questions:

 

·       What are the main benefits and barriers of publishing reproducible research outputs?

·       What are the roles of the different stakeholders involved?

·       How expensive are reproducibility checks?

·       What kind of digital tools and infrastructure are needed to publish reproducible research output?

University Libraries a part of national group to investigate true institutional cost of research data sharing | VTx | Virginia Tech

“Virginia Tech and five other members of the Data Curation Network and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) were awarded a National Science Foundation EAGER grant (#2135874) to conduct research, develop models, and collect information related to cost for public access to research data. The group, led by ARL, is composed of data specialists from Virginia Tech, University of Michigan, Duke University, University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Public access to research data increases transparency of research results, heightens the visibility of institutional scholarship, and can accelerate the pace of discovery through scholarship. However, common questions around public access to research data remain. Where are funded researchers making their data publicly accessible, and what is the quality of the corresponding metadata? How do researchers make the decision on how and why to share data? What is the cost to institutions to implement the federally mandated public access to research data policy?…”

Updates on our latest research on the costs of open infrastructure

“It’s been a busy few months at IOI, and I wanted to provide some updates on our current research to map funding and costs of open infrastructure.

We also have (2) open positions on the team:  a Director of Research & Strategy and an Engagement Lead. These positions play central roles in operationalizing IOI’s core aim to provide funding recommendations and investment guidance for research infrastructure and working with core stakeholder groups to put that work into action. …

Over the past few months, our team has been working to map the underlying costs and flows of capital for open infrastructure projects in the sector. 

This work builds on our research from the past year to investigate available funding data and project attributes. Our approach includes building a knowledge base of existing funding, project and grants data from a variety of public data sources, as well as qualitative research to verify those findings and further expand our understanding of project costs.

 

The aim of this work is to model a system of reporting key data and findings to support those looking to invest and choose open infrastructure solutions….”

In Practice: An Interview with Francesco Maggi & Enrico Valdinoci (Ars Inveniendi Analytica) · In Practice: Interviews with Practitioners of Open

“In this interview, Francesco Maggi (Professor of Mathematics, UT Austin) and Enrico Valdinoci (Professor of Mathematics, University of Western Australia) talk with Colleen Cressman about their new fee-free, open-access journal in Mathematics, Ars Inveniendi Analytica, for which they are the founding Editors-in-Chief. Established in 2020, Ars Inveniendi Analytica leverages the open-access repository arXiv as infrastructure: An author posts a manuscript to arXiv and then links to it in the submission form to the journal. Upon undergoing peer review, and if accepted for publication, the final version of the article is made available on arXiv. Francesco and Enrico discuss the merits and challenges of this model of publishing.”

Austrian Transition to Open Access: a collaborative approach

This article presents a collaborative project, the ‘Austrian Transition to Open Access’ (AT2OA), initially running from 2017 to 2020, which had the overarching goal of enabling the large-scale transformation of publishing outputs from closed to open access (OA) in Austria. The initiative, which has recently secured funding for a second four-year cycle from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, brings together all key players: universities, research institutes, the national library consortium and a cOAlition S funding member, the Austrian Science Fund. The project outcomes include a transition feasibility study that builds on the methodology of the 2015 Schimmer et al. article, the seeds of a national OA monitoring data hub and transformative agreements with major publishers. In addition, the project helped launch institutional OA Publishing Funds across the country and explored alternative publishing models. Furthermore, it saw the emergence of a nationwide network of OA experts. The authors also share their thoughts on lessons learned.