What happens when a journal converts to Open Access? A bibliometric analysis

Abstract:  In recent years, increased stakeholder pressure to transition research to Open Access has led to many journals converting, or ‘flipping’, from a closed access (CA) to an open access (OA) publishing model. Changing the publishing model can influence the decision of authors to submit their papers to a journal, and increased article accessibility may influence citation behaviour. In this paper we aimed to understand how flipping a journal to an OA model influences the journal’s future publication volumes and citation impact. We analysed two independent sets of journals that had flipped to an OA model, one from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and one from the Open Access Directory (OAD), and compared their development with two respective control groups of similar journals. For bibliometric analyses, journals were matched to the Scopus database. We assessed changes in the number of articles published over time, as well as two citation metrics at the journal and article level: the normalised impact factor (IF) and the average relative citations (ARC), respectively. Our results show that overall, journals that flipped to an OA model increased their publication output compared to journals that remained closed. Mean normalised IF and ARC also generally increased following the flip to an OA model, at a greater rate than was observed in the control groups. However, the changes appear to vary largely by scientific discipline. Overall, these results indicate that flipping to an OA publishing model can bring positive changes to a journal.

 

Demography journal now open access – with Penn Libraries support | Penn Libraries

“The Penn Libraries support open access publishing through funding for the ejournal Demography.

The Population Association of America has moved its journal Demography to platinum open access. The journal’s changeover coincides with its shift to Duke University Press from Springer Publishing….”

University of Michigan Press authors receive prestigious NEH Fellowships Open Book Program Grants – University of Michigan Press Blog

“The Fellowships Open Book Program from the National Endowment for the Humanities is a limited competition designed to make outstanding humanities books available to a wide audience. By taking advantage of low-cost “ebook” technology, the program allows teachers, students, scholars, and the public to read humanities books that can be downloaded or redistributed for no charge.  The Program supports the conversion of recently published books written by NEH fellows into eBooks that are freely available online….”

Attracting new users or business as usual? A case study of converting academic subscription based journals to open access

Abstract:  This paper studies a selection of eleven 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 polices 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 Journals

Abstract:  This paper studies a selection of eleven 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 polices targeting economically vulnerable national journals, and could further inform journal owners and editors on the effects of converting to open access.

 

Open Research at Wiley – The Last 12 Months Reviewed

“Over the past 12 months, our Gold open access journal portfolio has grown to over 150 titles, with more expected to launch or transition from subscription to open access.  These new journals cover a wide range of academic fields and publish original, high-quality, peer-reviewed work, with titles including Analytical Science Advances, Aging and Cancer and Food Frontiers. 

New and existing society partnerships afforded us exciting opportunities to publish several new open access journals on behalf of our partners….”

Go To Hellman: Open Access for Backlist Books, Part II: The All-Stars

“In my post about the value of Open Access for books, I suggested that usage statistics (circulation, downloads, etc.) are a useful proxy for the value that books generate for their readers. The logical conclusion is that the largest amount of value that can be generated from opening of the backlist comes from the books that are most used, the “all-stars” of the library, not the discount rack or the discards. If libraries are to provide funding for Open Access backlist books, shouldn’t they focus their resources on the books that create the most value?

The question of course, is how the library community would ever convince publishers, who have monopolies on these books as a consequence of international copyright laws, to convert these books to Open Access. Although some sort of statutory licensing or fair-use carve-outs could eventually do the trick, I believe that Open Access for a significant number of “backlist All-Stars” can be achieved today by pushing ALL the buttons available to supporters of Open Access. Here’s where the Open Access can learn from the game (and business) of baseball….

Open Access should be an All-Star game for backlist books. We need to create community-based award programs that recognize and reward backlist conversions to OA. If the world’s libraries want to spend $50,000 on backlist physics books, for example, isn’t it better to spend it on the the Mike Trout of physics books than on a team full of discount-rack replacement-level players? …

If you doubt that “All-Star Open Access” could work, don’t discount the fact that it’s also the right thing to do. Authors of All-Star backlist books want their books to be used, cherished and remembered. Libraries want books that measurably benefit the communities they serve. Foundations and governmental agencies want to make a difference. Even publishers who look only at their bottom lines can structure a rights conversion as a charitable donation to reduce their tax bills.

 

And did I mention that there could be Gala Award Celebrations? We need more celebrations, don’t you think? ”

Collaborative transition to open access publishing by scholarly societies | Molecular Biology of the Cell

Abstract:  For decades, universities, researchers, and libraries have sought a systemwide transition of scholarly publishing to open access (OA), but progress has been slow. There is now a potential for more rapid and impactful change, as new collaborative OA publishing models have taken shape. Cooperative publishing arrangements represent a viable path forward for society publishers to transition to OA as the default standard for disseminating research. The traditional article processing charge OA model has introduced sometimes unnavigable financial roadblocks, but cooperative arrangements premised on collective action principles can help to secure long-term stability and prevent the risk of free riding. Investment in cooperative arrangements does not require that cash-strapped libraries discover a new influx of money as their collection budgets continue to shrink, but rather that they purposefully redirect traditional subscription funds toward publishing support. These cooperative arrangements will require a two-way demonstration of trust: On one hand, libraries working together to provide assurances of sustained financial support, and on the other, societies’ willingness to experiment with discarding subscriptions. Organizations such as Society Publishers Coalition and Transitioning Society Publications to Open Access are committed to education about and further development of scalable and cooperative OA publishing models.

 

 

Go To Hellman: Creating Value with Open Access Books

“Can a book be more valuable if it’s free? How valuable? To whom? How do we unlock this value? …

Recently there’s been increased interest in academic communities around Open Access book publishing and in academic book relicensing (adding an Open Access License to an already published book). Both endeavors have been struggling with the central question of how to value an open access book. The uncertainty in OA book valuation has led to many rookie mistakes among OA stakeholders. For example, when we first started Unglue.it, we assumed that reader interest would accelerate the relicensing process for older books whose sales had declined. But the opposite turned out to be true. Evidence of reader interest let rights holders know that these backlist titles were much more valuable than sales would indicate, thus precluding any notion of making them Open Access. Pro tip: if you want to pay a publisher to make a books free, don’t publish your list of incredibly valuable books! …

First, consider the book’s reader. The value created is the reader’s increased knowledge, understanding and sometimes, sheer enjoyment. The fact of open access does not itself create the value, but removes some of the barriers which might suppress this value. It’s almost impossible to quantify the understanding and enjoyment from books; but “hours spent reading” might be a useful proxy for it.

Next consider a book’s creator. While a small number of creators derive an income stream from their books, most academic authors benefit primarily from the development and dissemination of their ideas. In many fields of inquiry, publishing a book is the academic’s path to tenure. Educators (and their students!) similarly benefit. In principle, you might assess a textbook’s value by measuring student performance….”

JGME is Open Access

“Beginning in 2021, all articles in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education are open access. With the support of the ACGME, JGME removed the paywall that had been in place for research articles during the first year of publication. This move aligns with the ACGME mission of enhancing the quality of resident and fellow education by providing easy access, regardless of an institution’s or individual’s resource level, the evidence-based, data-driven research and innovation conducted at institutions across the country and around the world. By eliminating financial barriers to access, JGME also opens its doors to more diversity, equity, and inclusion, and further establishes itself as a vital service to the GME community. Submission and publication of manuscripts continue to be free of charge to authors….”

Review of OA agreements post SPA OPS Survey

“Thank you very much for agreeing to complete this short survey. We have been commissioned by the European Science Foundation, on behalf of cOAlition S, and ALPSP to review the progress of open access agreements around the world.

 

Transformative OA agreements are made between libraries and publishers and include both OA publishing services and reading services (if any content is paywalled). They remove the need for authors to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) or other transactional charges for their open access publishing. Many types of transformative OA agreement initiatives operate today, including Read & Publish, Subscribe to Open, Community Action Publishing, and journal flipping programs via Knowledge Unlatched, Libraria, or SCOAP3.”

Open access at Nature Methods | Nature Methods

“From January 2021 on, we are pleased to offer authors of primary research papers an expanded array of publishing options, including open access (OA). Nature and the Nature Research journals, including Nature Methods, have become ‘transformative journals’, meaning that while we still offer traditional subscription-based publication, we aim to increase the number of OA papers we publish each year, with the ultimate goal of becoming a fully OA journal….”