STM Global Brief 2021 – Economics & Market Size

“At STM, we promote the contribution that publishers make to innovation, openness and the sharing of knowledge and embrace change to support the growth and sustainability of the research ecosystem. As a common good, we provide data and analysis for all involved in the global activity of research. For the past 15 years, we have produced the STM report which has explored the trends, issues and challenges facing scholarly publishing. This latest iteration sees the adoption of a new format for the report, with a wealth of industry-leading data and insights presented across an annual selection of ‘supplements’ – each providing compelling snapshots on specific aspects and characteristics of the industry. The next issue will cover Open Access and Open Research, which remain a key area of focus for STM and its members as a means to advance knowledge worldwide. This first supplement in the new series – ‘STM Global Brief 2021 – Economics and Market Size’ shines a light on the scale and shape of scholarly publishing and provides updated figures covering 2018 onwards. We would like to thank all the contributors for their input, advice and insights….”

2021 STM Report highlights rapid transformation to Open Access

“STM (the Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers) has today published the latest edition of ‘The STM Report’, the organization’s comprehensive overview of the scientific and scholarly publishing market. The revised report, which adopts a new supplement format to be issued in regular thematic updates, reveals significant publisher-driven growth in Open Access (OA) and continued dynamism in the scholarly communication ecosystem….

The latest report shows that recent strong growth in OA publishing is projected to continue. Around a third of all global research articles are now published OA with some countries, such as the UK on track for 90% of their researchers’ output to be published OA within a year due to business model and operational innovations. The new report reveals emerging trends across journal publishing and article growth, the market dominance of formats and disciplines, whilst also exploring the variances across the different markets of the global economy. It details that China remains the world’s most prolific producer of publishable research output, but that, India, Russian Federation, Spain, Italy, Brazil and Australia all have shown strong growth since 2018….”

Four years of chemistry preprints | Feature | Chemistry World

“Then, in August 2017, two things happened. First, the SSRN preprint server (originally for social sciences and currently run by publishing giant Elsevier) launched an offshoot called the Chemistry Research Network (ChemRN). Then, a week or so later, ChemRxiv was launched by the American Chemical Society (ACS) – it is now run as a collaboration between the ACS, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the chemical societies of China, Japan and Germany….

Neither was initially welcomed with wholly open arms into the chemistry community. An insistence – especially from some journal editors – that depositing work caused it to lose the required novelty to warrant publication in their journals was the biggest issue, explains Donna Blackmond, a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in California, US, and a member of the ChemRxiv scientific advisory board.


At the start, some chemistry journals accepted submissions that had been preprinted, some did not and many others left authors guessing by not having a preprint policy at all. It took about year for all the chemistry journals to accept preprints, says Blackmond. The ACS flagship journal, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, held out the longest….

Four years after their launch, the preprint servers are now finding their feet in the chemistry community. In 2020, 5137 preprints were posted on ChemRxiv and 3538 on ChemRN. The same year, ChemRxiv preprints were accessed a total of 16,120,921 times and ChemRN pre-prints downloaded 499,553 times….”


Observing the success so far of the Rights Retention Strategy | Plan S

“As someone who is independent of cOAlition S, I have been monitoring with great interest the application of the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS).

Using Google Scholar and Paperpile, I have documented over 500 works published across hundreds of different outlets using the Rights Retention Strategy language in the acknowledgements section of the work. Authors are using it to retain their rights in preprints, journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, and even posters – this makes perfect sense; the RRS language is simple and easy to add to research outputs. It’s not a burden to acknowledge one’s research funding and to add the statement: “For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission“, and so authors are doing this….

I am also pleased to observe that ALL the major publishers appear to be happily publishing works containing the RRS language, including Elsevier, ACS, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, IEEE, and Springer Nature (inc. Nature Publication Group). So, authors need not fear practising rights retention.

I note that the RRS is a tool that can be and is used across all disciplines – it works equally well for STEM and HSS. Indeed one of my favourite examples of RRS-in-action is a Wellcome Trust funded output by Dr Barbara Zipser from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. Thanks to the RRS language Dr Zipser included in her submission, there is a full-text accepted author manuscript version of her work available at EuropePMC for all to read, whilst separately the journal-published version is available from the publisher website behind a 25 euro paywall. The author accepted manuscript has undergone peer review and has been accepted by the publisher (it is not a rough preprint, from before peer review). I do not need to read a version that has publisher branding & logos. When researchers choose the “green” route to open access, people need not feel sorry for the journal publisher – individual and institutional subscribers pay handsomely to support the journal. Thus, green open access is never “unfunded“, as some publishers have tried to claim….

As a keen Wikimedian, I am delighted with another aspect of the RRS. Prior to the RRS, green OA copies of articles weren’t much used on Wikimedia Commons owing to incompatible licensing. But now, with the RRS, suddenly, RRS-using green OA copies become easier to adapt for re-use on other websites. As Wikipedia is one of the top 15 most visited websites globally, I think it is very important that academic research is not prevented from being used there by overly restrictive licensing conditions. To celebrate this openness, I have added a few figure images sourced from cOAlition S funded, CC BY licensed, author accepted manuscripts using RRS to Wikimedia Commons. These images can be re-used within suitable Wikipedia articles across all languages, helping the transmission of research information beyond the constraints of academic journals and language barriers….”

The Initiative for Open Abstracts: Celebrating our first anniversary

When I4OA was launched one year ago, the initiative was supported by 40 publishers, including Hindawi, Royal Society, and SAGE, who are founding members of the initiative. Among the initial supporters of I4OA there were commercial publishers (e.g., F1000, Frontiers, Hindawi, MDPI, PeerJ, and SAGE), non-profit publishers (e.g., eLife and PLOS), society publishers (e.g., AAAS and Royal Society), and university presses (e.g., Cambridge University Press and MIT Press). Some of the initial supporters of I4OA are open access publishers, while others publish subscription-based journals.

Over the past year, the number of publishers supporting I4OA has more than doubled. The initiative is currently supported by 86 publishers. Publishers that have joined I4OA over the past year include ACM, American Society for Microbiology, Emerald, Oxford University Press, and Thieme. I4OA has also been joined by a substantial number of national and regional publishers, for instance from countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

Sharing published short academic works in institutional repositories after six months | LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries

Abstract:  The ambition of the Netherlands, laid down in the National Plan Open Science, is to achieve 100% open access for academic publications. The ambition was to be achieved by 2020. However, it is to be expected that for the year 2020 between 70% and 75% of the articles will be open access. Until recently, the focus of the Netherlands has been on the gold route – open access via journals and publishers’ platforms. This is likely to be costly and it is also impossible to cover all articles and other publication types this way. Since 2015, Dutch Copyright Act has offered an alternative with the implementation of Article 25fa (also known as the ‘Taverne Amendment’), facilitating the green route, i.e. open access via (trusted) repositories. This amendment allows researchers to share short scientific works (e.g. articles and book chapters in edited collections), regardless of any restrictive guidelines from publishers. From February 2019 until August 2019 all Dutch universities participated in the pilot ‘You Share, we Take Care!’ to test how this copyright amendment could be interpreted and implemented by institutions as a policy instrument to enhance green open access and “self-archiving”. In 2020 steps were taken to scale up further implementation of the amendment. This article describes the outcomes of this pilot and shares best practices on implementation and awareness activities in the period following the pilot until early 2021, in which libraries have played an instrumental role in building trust and working on effective implementations on an institutional level. It concludes with some possible next steps for alignment, for example on a European level.


Sci-Hub Celebrates 10 Years Of Existence, With A Record 88 Million Papers Available, And A Call For Funds To Help It Add AI And Go Open Source | Techdirt

“To celebrate ten years offering a large proportion of the world’s academic papers for free — against all the odds, and in the face of repeated legal action — Sci-Hub has launched a funding drive:

Sci-Hub is run fully on donations. Instead of charging for access to information, it creates a common pool of knowledge free for anyone to access.

The donations page says that “In the next few years Sci-Hub is going to dramatically improve”, and lists a number of planned developments. These include a better search engine, a mobile app, and the use of neural networks to extract ideas from papers and make inferences and new hypotheses. Perhaps the most interesting idea is for the software behind Sci-Hub to become open source. The move would address in part a problem discussed by Techdirt back in May: the fact that Sci-Hub is a centralized service, with a single point of failure. Open sourcing the code — and sharing the papers database — would allow multiple mirrors to be set up around the world by different groups, increasing its resilience….”

The ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Adds 2 Million New Journal Articles

“On September 5, 2011, the Sci-Hub was born. It’s a place where people can find scientific studies that are typically hidden behind expensive paywalls for free. The site is constantly under legal threat and only periodically uploads. On its tenth birthday, it did what it does best. Uploaded paywalled articles to a database where anyone can read them. “In honor of such a round date, two million have been added to the server today, namely 2,337,229 new articles,” neuroscientist turned scientific paper pirate Alexandra Elbakyan said in a blog post announcing the upload….

According to Elbakyan, most of the more than 2 million articles come from Netherlands based publisher Elsevier—which often leads the legal charge against Sci Hub—and international publisher Springer. There’s 398,548 articles about medicine, 184,598 about engineering, 171,929 about chemistry, and 7 dentistry articles….

When it is threatened, its users come together to back up the data. In May of this year, when it looked as if the site may go down, its users rallied to back up its 77 terabytes of data….”

92 million new citations added to COCI | OpenCitations blog

“It’s been a month since the announcement of 1.09 Billion Citations available in the July 2021 release of COCI, the OpenCitations Index of Crossref open DOI-to-DOI citations.  

We’re now proud to announce the September 2021 release of COCI, which is based on open references to works with DOIs within the Crossref dump dated August 2021. This new release extends COCI with more than 92 Million additional citations, giving a total number of more than 1.18 Billion DOI-to-DOI citation links….”

Sci-Hub Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary By Uploading 2.3m New Articles * TorrentFreak

“Over the past decade, Sci-Hub has grown to become a formidable force. From very humble beginnings it today offers a staggering 87.97m research papers and serves up hundreds of thousands of them to visitors every day. These include many thousands of students but also scientist and academics, who regularly add Sci-Hub DOI links to their publications to make learning easier….

Yesterday Sci-Hub celebrated its 10th anniversary with an announcement from Alexandra on her personal Twitter account….

The publishing of more than 2.3m new research papers is perhaps the most fitting way to mark the celebrations but the fact they weren’t published sooner is a sign of how unrelenting legal action has affected the site’s ability to continue its work. In her tweet, Alexandra references a legal action that may yet prove an important milestone in the site’s history….”

Open Educational Resources: The Story of Change and Evolving Perceptions | Open Research Community

Perhaps no other issue involving OERs is more relevant and affecting more users, including faculty, than discoverability. All other potential issues aside, the sheer ability to keep up and filter through thousands of OERs is a skill in and of itself. OERs continue to grow at a staggering pace.

Subscribe to Progress: Advancing Equity Through Openness · Business of Knowing, summer 2021

“The open access business model Subscribe to Open (S2O) continues to capture attention from the scholarly publishing community. cOAlition S provided a recent endorsement, stating it “encourages publishers to seriously consider the Subscribe to Open Model as a model for achieving full transformation to open access publishing and Plan S compliance.” Wellcome Trust now allows its funds to be used to pay for S2O costs. And, just recently, came news that Project Muse, with funding from the Mellon Foundation, will study the viability of multiple coordinated S2O offers. If successful, they plan to move forward with the “design of a robust and multifaceted pilot program for journals in the humanities and social sciences.” This would be the largest and most ambitious implementation of S2O to date and the first time the model is applied to transition aggregated subscription content.

This all comes after an already busy year for S2O. Several publishers launched new S2O offers for 2021, including EDP Sciences, Pluto Journals, Berghahn Journals (now in its second year), and the International Water Association (IWA). Annual Reviews, who originally developed the model and launched a pilot with 5 journals in 2020, has expanded its offering by adding 3 new journals for 2021. Annual Reviews also led the launch of what has become a lively and thriving S2O Community of Practice, where publishers, librarians and funders share information in monthly meetings and on a website to support and promote the model.

This is exciting and remarkable progress for a model that is a relative newcomer to the world of scholarly publishing, and it raises some interesting questions. What accounts for S2O’s growing momentum? Why has it captured the interest of a growing number of publishers, librarians, and funders? Will it prove sustainable?…”

Beyond the Pandemic: The Future of the Research Enterprise in Academic Year 2021-22 and Beyond

“There is clearly a growing commitment to open scholarly communication by researchers, but the precise contours of this are poorly documented and understood. It’s clear that research communities that have been historically reluctant to use pre-print servers have now embraced them, but also that there’s a growing understanding of the challenges that researchers face when pre-print servers are used by the popular press for high-stakes public health research, for example. Opening up commercially-published and paywalled scholarly articles in areas related to COVID-19 has been very welcome, and has advanced support for open-access agendas. In parallel with the pandemic, but not fundamentally driven by it, various funders such as Plan S participants have been trying to advance agendas related to transformative agreements. It will be important to try to disentangle the various trends in this area, and the factors driving them….”