“Developing sustainable open access book publishing models is particularly important for university presses which see the benefits of increased dissemination, but already operate under razor-thin margins, and subscribe to open models have gained traction in recent years. To gather evidence that we hope will provide new options for open access models, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Association of University Presses and Ithaka S+R have just published our new research study on open access and sales revenue. Our key finding: open access monographs can generate significant revenue — both on the print side and digitally. …”
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.
cOAlition S commissioned Information Power to explore how a globally fair pricing framework for academic publishing could be devised and implemented. The key objective of this project was to identify ways in which readers and producers of scholarly publications or their proxies – research funders and universities – can financially contribute to supporting academic publishing services in a globally equitable and sustainable manner.
The Information Power team have developed a fairer global pricing framework and tool, based on open and transparent data, that can be used across the spectrum of publishing business models. Information Power emphasizes the need for close dialogue between stakeholders and careful use of the tool to ensure the framework is deployed in ways that work well for customers and advance equity. If applied by publishers without dialogue, transparency, and in alignment with shared principles, then differential pricing can be – and has been – wielded as a blunt instrument to do ill.
“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….”
“In this editorial, we will try to convince you that publishing in academic-led, community-oriented journals like ours is a better use of your hard-earned grant money than publishing in for-profit journals….
“For the society or charity-owned journals like ours, the surplus funds raised beyond the costs associated with publishing are put back into the scientific community. In our case, The Guarantors of Brain charity uses money raised by Brain and Brain Communications to support fellowships, meetings, and travel grants to attend conferences or to do pro-bono work in low-income countries (see https://guarantorsofbrain.org/)….”
“This free, virtual event will offer opportunities for discussion and dialog on critical issues in scholarly communications. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Open scholarship of all sorts, including OERs, Open Science, Open Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge;
Commercialization of OA models;
Proprietary versus community-minded infrastructure;
Read and Publish or “Transformative” agreements;
Garnering support from faculty, administrators, and legislators;
Preservation of open content;
Ethics of open content, including invisible labor embedded in OA creation, authors rights, content scraping by AI, etc.;
Economic issues in the scholarly communication environment, including publisher consolidation, distribution of resources and profits, and economic incentives of relevant actors and stakeholders….”
“In an era of digitisation, one should be asking: why are researchers still burdened with exorbitant publication fees? Especially when considering neither the submitting scientists nor reviewing experts receive payment for their hard work. Unfortunately, the answer seems to lie somewhere between profiteering and extortion.
The justification for these high fees remains a subject of debate. While open-access journals argue that the charges are necessary to ensure sustainability and cover the expenses involved in the publication process (such as editing, formatting and online hosting), critics question whether the current fee structures are reasonable and transparent.
The lack of transparency in understanding how these costs are allocated and the absence of standardised pricing across journals raises some serious concerns and has even led to boycotting by some of the world’s leading scientists.
It is widely recognised that a high journal impact factor doesn’t guarantee quality, and the obsession with publishing in what are considered “glamour mags” in certain scientific fields is harmful and ethically compromising. Unfortunately, the reality of this unfair system of “pay and publish or perish”, creates an extremely unlevel playing field for researchers from emerging countries….”
“Let’s look at some data. Out of the four million scientific papers that are published each year, some 61 per cent are still behind subscription paywalls. In the medical field, progress has been utterly slow. Only 31 per cent of all cancer-related publications are openly accessible. For cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases, these figures are respectively 20 and 16 per cent. And in the field of climate change, which is such a big challenge for our planet, only 40 per cent of all publications are in open access.
Now, why has there not been more progress? I see several reasons for this.
First of all, there are still some people out there who believe that open access is tantamount to predatory journals with little quality oversight, and there are others who deliberately keep this myth alive.
Secondly, many academic libraries are locked by subscription budgets and cannot afford to liberate funds for open access. In other words, the flip from ‘pay to read’ to ‘pay to publish’ is complex.
Third, there is much criticism on both the side of the science community and that of the funders that the costs of publishing articles in open access—article-processing costs, or APCs—are just too high. This is also a kind of myth since, for example, ‘gold’ open access provides much better value for money than subscription. While the costs of subscription range between €4,000 and €9,500 per article, the costs of open-access publishing APCs is on average €2,500 per article, although there are of course exceptional cases whereby APCs of almost €9,000 are charged. Yet it has to be acknowledged that over recent years there has been an inflation of APCs.
And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the transformative agreements mentioned above have not yet delivered and in many cases are not really transformative….”
“We are a cross-disciplinary coalition of academic scholars from across the globe partnering with the non-profit Center for Open Science (COS) to provide open access to academic scholarship through disciplinary preprint servers that host cutting edge, open access scholarship . We partner with COS through OSF Preprints, a service which runs on the Open Science Framework….
For a Fraction of Your Subscription Costs, Your Support Can Sustain the Future of Open Access.
Preprints are a powerful form of open-access scholarship and are a key component of an open and transparent research lifecycle. They are also an exceptional value: we are currently able to provide these services for free to both researchers and readers. We predict that over the next 10 years, the annual hosting costs for our preprint servers will be $250,000 per year; $2.5 million over the next decade. We would love to meet with you and your colleagues to discuss how your institution can support our coalition with an investment towards defraying those costs and building a vital part of the future infrastructure for open science.”
“Publishers are demanding increasingly higher fees for reading scientific journals and open access publishing, even though the scientific community can’t sustain even the current costs. The expenses have risen to a level that doesn’t correspond to the benefits received from the services….
The consortium is prepared that if the goals are not achieved, it’s possible that not all current scientific journal agreements can be continued….”
“In a digital age where access to information is increasingly recognized as a fundamental human right, a deeply concerning trend has emerged in academic publishing. There’s a rising misuse of publishing models that burden authors with charges for their work to be published and levy fees on readers for accessing the published content. This practice, known as “double-dipping,” has sparked a chorus of protest from a broad spectrum of stakeholders: academics, librarians, students, and, particularly, open-access advocates.
Historically, the conventional model for academic publishing functioned on a no-charge basis for authors, with publishers profiting through subscription fees paid by readers or institutions such as universities and libraries. In stark contrast, the prevailing trend in today’s publishing landscape requires authors to pay to publish their work, ostensibly under the pretense of making these works freely available to the public — a model referred to as “author pays” or “gold open access.”…”
“One of many ideas being discussed is basing fees upon what is affordable locally, rather than pricing them at an identical level for customers irrespective of their geographic location. Precedents exist, such as the tiered pricing of vaccines….
The APC barrier effect suggests that “APCs impede researchers with fewer resources in publishing their research as OA”. Transformative Agreements (TAs) and Read & Publish (R&P) deals, which may base their pricing on APCs, can bring similar problems of affordability to those of APCs themselves. The expense of subscriptions too, even for the wealthy, has been discussed at length, and their cost is one of the drivers behind advocacy of a move to OA. Affordability is an issue whatever the business model.
Waivers are the usual fix, but they can be problematic. Their implementation varies, and they may be perceived as patronizing or undermining the dignity of those receiving them (“Waivers are a charity; why can we not pay in our own way with our own money?”). Waivers are typically applied based on World Bank income categories, but, as our analysis of its data shows, these may not match affordability….
At first glance, exploring a PPP [Purchasing Power Parity]-based pricing model is attractive. It strikes at the heart of affordability, by accounting for participants’ ability to pay. However, as we have seen, it is not that simple. A move to PPP, in most cases, causes price increases for many (some of which are unexpected) to subsidize the others that need more affordable options. This may result in some controversial changes. That impact would be magnified if publishers attempted to adjust prices upwards overall to counteract market value shrinkage.
A PPP based pricing system, while attractive in principle, would need to be carefully implemented in practice. Prices or pricing tiers would need to account for more than the raw numbers. Optics would need to be carefully considered. There will be winners and losers. And, like William Gibson’s view of the future, they will be unevenly distributed.”
“On behalf of Pensoft Publishers, we express our support for the Conclusions on high-quality, transparent, open and equitable scholarly publishing, recently published by the Council of the European Union. We do share all concerns articulated in the document that highlight major inequities and outstanding issues in the scholarly publishing environment.
In our opinion, it is of utmost importance to promptly address the existing issues in the publishing system, where healthy competition can thrive and contribute to a reality safe from potential mono-/oligopolies and corporate capture.
We firmly believe that only an industry that leaves room for variously-scaled pioneers and startups is capable of leading a long-awaited shift to a high-quality, transparent, open and equitable scholarly publishing landscape aligning with the principles of FAIRness….”