Digital Transformation of University-Run Journals

“Universities need to pivot from print or paywalled journals and implement open access publishing models for better scalability and discoverability of the journals. We all know that the digital setting is progressively open where readers have free multi-platform accessibility to content (scholarly articles, research publications, and academic journals) in the most readily available formats.

The digitally-driven research dissemination and increasing momentum in knowledge consumption have spurred the adoption of open access movement across the publishing market….”

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….”

Wetenschappelijk tijdschrift Rijksmuseum nu voor iedereen online beschikbaar – Persberichten – Pers – Rijksmuseum

From Google’s English:  “In addition to a printed version, The Rijksmuseum Bulletin now also appears as a free digital magazine in Open Access. The peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Rijksmuseum, in which historical and art-historical research about the collection is presented, will thus be freely available online to everyone. All editions of the magazine from 2012 are currently online. Later this year, the archive will be expanded to include the first issue in 1953….”

Interview with Beth Bayley, Karger Publishers – DOAJ News Service

“A very important aspect of our strategy is to embrace, contribute to and promote Open Science, which naturally means a major emphasis on a sustainable transition to open access (OA). Besides ensuring that our policies and services support OA, we’re also working with institutions to innovate flexible Publish and Read agreements (a.k.a. transformative agreements), launching OA journals, flipping journals and adopting the Transformative Journal model for some journals….

Ideologically, OA seems like a no-brainer. In a perfect world, there would be no barriers to lifesaving and enhancing knowledge based on where, or under what circumstances, people are born. However, the challenges to making all high-quality research openly accessible—with all the essential tools to make it discoverable and useful, and everything else publishers do—are real. I think platinum OA, where there is no charge for reading or publishing, could go far to reduce inequity so I’m especially excited about our platinum OA journals, which we call Partner Publications. They help make sure organizations have a voice in the global conversation and remove barriers to readers and authors….”

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.

 

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: …”

Pampel (2021) Strategische und operative Handlungsoptionen fu?r wissenschaftliche Einrichtungen zur Gestaltung der Open-Access-Transformation (Strategic And Operational Options For Research Institutions To Shape The Open Access Transformation) | eDoc server, HU Berlin

Pampel, Heinz. 2021. ‘Strategische Und Operative Handlungsoptionen Für Wissenschaftliche Einrichtungen Zur Gestaltung Der Open-Access-Transformation’. PhD Thesis, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät. https://doi.org/10.18452/22946.

This thesis investigates the role of research institutions in Germany in transforming scholarly publishing from subscription to Open Access in the field of scientific journals. Open Access transformation aims to overcome the traditional subscription model to further innovative methods of digital scholarly communication. The study examines the options open to higher education institutions and research performing organizations for shaping the Open Access transformation. The thesis presents a description of these options in the areas of strategy and communication, services and infrastructures, business relations with publishers and cooperation. Then, the implementation of these options in practice was analyzed. For this purpose, a survey was conducted among 701 academic institutions in Germany. The response rate of 403 responding institutions (57.49%) can be considered very positive. This survey, which is probably the most comprehensive on the subject to date, shows that higher education institutions and research performing organizations in Germany have so far implement-ed only a few options for promoting Open Access. While the distribution of Open Access repositories is positive, the handling of Open Access publication charges and the associated monitoring of publication costs are still at the beginning. The results of the survey indicate a high need for action. The presented quantitative survey closes the gap of missing data on Open Access in Germany. Based on this new dataset, the study formulates recommendations for further engagement with the Open Access transformation at research institutions in Germany. One focus is on activities that arise in the area of academic libraries.

 

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….”

EDP Sciences – Momentum builds for Subscribe-to-Open as mathematics portfolio transitions to open access

“It is confirmed that five mathematics journals published by EDP Sciences and the Société de Mathématiques Appliquées et Industrielles (SMAI) will join Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena (MMNP) in open access under the Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) model in 2021*. The transition will further bolster S2O, a transformative model first introduced by Annual Reviews and recently endorsed by cOAlition S.

The decision to transition the journals to open access at this time has been reached despite challenging operating conditions. Inevitably, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to influence library finances and complicate subscriptions. The decision to proceed is therefore based on a range of exceptional factors and would not necessarily have been taken had finances alone been considered….”

The Royal Society sets 75% threshold to ‘flip’ its research journals to Open Access over the next five years | Royal Society

“In an exciting new chapter for its scientific publishing, the Royal Society sets out how it will transition its primary research journals to open access and make more of its world-leading research available to all.

Following a review by its Council, the Royal Society has committed to ‘flipping’ the journals Biology Letters, Interface, Proceedings A, and Proceedings B to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access.

This transition will be driven chiefly by the expansion of Read & Publish agreements with major research institutions, enabling their scientific research output to be published open access in the Society’s journals.

The process is already well underway, the Society launched Royal Society Read & Publish in January 2021 and has pioneered new agreements – including a shared funding arrangement announced this year with the University of California….”

Opening Access, Closing the Knowledge Gap? Analysing GC No. 25 on the Right to Science and Its Implications for the Global Science System in the Digital Age eBook (2021) / 0044-2348 | Nomos eLibrary

Abstract:  The Corona pandemic as never before shows the advantages of Open Science and Open Access (OA), understood as the unrestricted access to research data, software and publications over the internet. It might accelerate the long-predicted “access revolution” in the academic publishing system towards a system in which scientific publications are freely available for readers over the internet. This paradigm shift, for which the “flipping” of this journal is but one of many examples, is underway, with major research funding organisations at the national and international levels massively supporting it. The call for OA has now also been taken up by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which in its recent General Comment (GC) No. 25 explicitly asks states to promote OA. Following the line of argument of the OA movement, the Committee finds that OA is beneficial to democracy, scientific progress and furthermore a tool to bridge the “knowledge gap”. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the GC and its implications for the global science system in the digital age. It argues that the great merit of the GC lies in highlighting that “benefitting” from science includes access to science as such and not only to its material outcomes. This underscores the independent meaning of the right to science which so far was primarily seen as an enabler for other social rights. However, when it comes to OA, the GC has problematic flaws. It simply assumes that OA is beneficial to the right to science, overlooking that the OA model which is likely to become the global standard risks to benefit the already privileged, namely researchers and publishers of wealthy institutions in the Global North, further sidelining those at the margins. Rather than narrowing existing gaps, it risks to further deepen them. In order to remain meaningful in the face of the fundamental criticism it faces, human rights law needs to address systemic issues and inequalities in the science system and beyond.

 

Contracting in the Age of Open Access Publications. A Systematic Analysis of Transformative Agreements | Ouvrir la Science

The “socioeconomics of scientific publication” Project, Committee for Open Science

Final report – 17 December 2020 Contract No. 206-150

Quentin Dufour (CNRS Postdoctoral fellow) David Pontille (CNRS senior researcher) Didier Torny (CNRS senior researcher)

Mines ParisTech, Center for the Sociology of Innovation • PSL University

Supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation

Summary

This study focuses on one of the contemporary innovations linked to the economy of academic publishing: the so-called transformative agreements, a relatively circumscribed object within the relations between library consortia and academic publishers, and temporally situated between 2015 and 2020. The stated objective of this type of agreement is to organise the transition from the traditional model of subscription to journals (often proposed by thematic groupings or collections) to that of open access by reallocating the budgets devoted to it.

Our sociological analysis work constitutes a first systematic study of this object, based on a review of 197 agreements. The corpus thus constituted includes agreements characterised by the co-presence of a subscription component and an open access publication component, even minimal (publication “tokens” offered, reduction on APCs, etc.). As a result, agreements that only concern centralised funding for open access publishing were excluded from the analysis, whether with publishers that only offer journals with payment by the author (PLOS, Frontiers, MDPI, etc.) or publishers whose catalogue includes open access journals. The oldest agreement in our corpus was signed in 2010, the most recent ones in 2020 – agreements starting only in 2021, even announced during the study, were not retained.

Several results emerge from our analysis. First of all, there is a great diversity of actors involved with 22 countries and 39 publishers, even if some consortia (Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Germany) and publishers (CUP, Elsevier, RSC, Springer) signed many more than others. Secondly, the duration of the agreements, ranging from one to six years, reveals a very unequal distribution, with more than half of the agreements (103) signed for 3 years, and a small proportion for 4 years or more (22 agreements). Finally, despite repeated calls for transparency, less than half of the agreements (96) have an accessible text at the time of this study, with no recent trend towards greater availability.

Of the 96 agreements available, 47 of which were signed in 2020, 62 have been analysed in depth. To our knowledge, this is the first analysis on this scale, on a type of material that was not only unpublished, but which was previously subject to confidentiality clauses. Based on a careful reading, the study describes in detail their properties, from the materiality of the document to the financial formulas, including their morphology and all the rights and duties of the parties. We therefore analysed the content of the agreements as a collection, looking for commonalities and variations through an explicit coding of their characteristics. The study also points out some uncertainties, in particular their “transitional” character, which remains strongly debated.

From a morphological point of view, the agreements show a great diversity in size (from 7 to 488 pages) and structure. Nevertheless, by definition, they both articulate two essential objects: on the one hand, the conditions for carrying out a reading of journal articles, in the form of a subscription, combining concerns of access and security; on the other hand, the modalities of open access publication, articulating the management of a new type of workflow with a whole series of possible options. These options include the scope of the journals considered (hybrid and/or open access), the licences available, the degree of obligation to publish, the eligible authors or the volume of publishable articles.

One of the most important results of this in-depth analysis is the discovery of an almost complete decoupling, within the agreements themselves, between the subscription object and the publication object. Of course, subscription is systematically configured in a closed world, subject to payment, which triggers series of identification of legitimate circulations of both information content and users. In particular, it insists on prohibitions on the reuse or even copying of academic articles. On the other hand, open access publishing is attached to a world governed by free access to content, which leads to concerns about workflow management and accessibility modalities. Moreover, the different elements that make up these contractual objects are not interconnected: on one side, the readers are all members of the subscribing institutions, on the other, only the corresponding authors are concerned; the lists of journals accessible to the reader and those reserved for open access publication are usually distinct; the workflows have totally different

Why hybrid journals do not lead to full and immediate Open Access | Plan S

“In this brief note, we formulate 6 arguments that articulate why cOAlition S Organisations will not financially support the hybrid model of publishing. We define a hybrid Open Access journal as a subscription journal in which some of the original research papers are Open Access while others are only accessible via payment or subscription. …

Argument 1: Hybrid has not facilitated a transition to Open Access (OA)…

Argument 2: The research community pays twice (double dipping)…

Argument 3: Hybrid journals are more expensive than fully OA journals…

Argument 4: Hybrid journals provide a poor quality of service…

Argument 5: Hybrid journals crowd out new, full OA publishing models…

Argument 6: Reader access: a hybrid journal is a “random OA” journal…

The arguments developed here provide the rationale for why cOAlition S Organisations have decided not to financially support hybrid journals unless these journals adopt a transformative arrangement that will lead them towards full and immediate OA by December 2024. In the meantime, these arrangements must ensure that OA publication fees are properly offset against subscription fees, so as to avoid any double-dipping. Publishers will only “bite the bullet” and start exploring new OA publishing models when they realize that the hybrid model is no longer a viable option.”

Attracting new users or business as usual? A case study of converting academic subscription-based journals to open access | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press

Abstract:  This paper studies a selection of 11 Norwegian journals in the humanities and social sciences and their conversion from subscription to open access, a move heavily incentivized by governmental mandates and open access policies. By investigating the journals’ visiting logs in the period 2014–2019, the study finds that a conversion to open access induces higher visiting numbers; all journals in the study had a significant increase, which can be attributed to the conversion. Converting a journal had no spillover in terms of increased visits to previously published articles still behind the paywall in the same journals. Visits from previously subscribing Norwegian higher education institutions did not account for the increase in visits, indicating that the increase must be accounted for by visitors from other sectors. The results could be relevant for policymakers concerning the effects of strict policies targeting economically vulnerable national journals, and could further inform journal owners and editors on the effects of converting to open access.

 

 

Attracting new users or business as usual? A case study of converting academic subscription-based journals to open access | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press

Abstract:  This paper studies a selection of 11 Norwegian journals in the humanities and social sciences and their conversion from subscription to open access, a move heavily incentivized by governmental mandates and open access policies. By investigating the journals’ visiting logs in the period 2014–2019, the study finds that a conversion to open access induces higher visiting numbers; all journals in the study had a significant increase, which can be attributed to the conversion. Converting a journal had no spillover in terms of increased visits to previously published articles still behind the paywall in the same journals. Visits from previously subscribing Norwegian higher education institutions did not account for the increase in visits, indicating that the increase must be accounted for by visitors from other sectors. The results could be relevant for policymakers concerning the effects of strict policies targeting economically vulnerable national journals, and could further inform journal owners and editors on the effects of converting to open access.