How does the growth of a particular publisher’s open access content factor into the relative value of a Big Deal? Part 2: The Findings – Delta Think

“Some final thoughts: (1) Overall usage was a stronger influence on the change in value than the small changes in the proportion of hybrid OA article usage. (2) Despite the range of research activity levels across our institutions, there wasn’t much difference in the proportion of the open versus controlled usage across the site-licensed institutions for either publisher. (3) COVID likely affected these trends, but precisely how was unclear. Did lockdown increase the usage or limit it? Did it affect our two publishers differently? We have no ‘non-COVID’ control unfortunately. (4) If the impact of transformative agreements on the rate of hybrid OA article output influenced these trends, the impact was quite small. Still, with more libraries negotiating transformative agreements, growth in the proportion of OA articles should accelerate. As long as usage in publisher packages continues to grow, cost per controlled use will increase more quickly than cost per use. This new cost per controlled use metric should help libraries track the return on investment from their journal package subscription payments as a growing proportion of underlying articles are free to read.”

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.


Open Access: Koste es, was es wolle?

Abstract:  The paper introduces the recommendations of German Science and Humanities Council on the transformation of academic publishing towards Open Access, pinpointing core aspects. The key points will illustrate why, 20 years on, these recommendations are indicative of a lack of genuine transformation, and may explain why change has not happened despite the manifold efforts made by libraries. The article also outlines promising aspects that nonetheless may require a long-term view most of the parties involved might not be ready to take.

OpenAIRE’s self-assessment of the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) | January 2022

“The Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) offers a set of guidelines by which open scholarly infrastructure organisations and initiatives that support the research community can be run and sustained. OpenAIRE builds on these principles as a signal of our commitement to serve the research community in the long run….”

News & Views: The Impact of Transformative Agreements on the Value of the Big Deal, Part 1: Methodology – Delta Think

“How does the growth of a particular publisher’s open access content factor into the relative value of a Big Deal?

As open access publishing has grown, libraries have begun to question the value of their expensive Big Deal subscriptions. Data from Delta Think show that OA articles account for an increasing percentage of overall publishing. This study examines those data as well as usage data from library subscriptions to determine whether the overall value of Big Deals is decreasing. Included in this study is a detailed explanation for how to remove outliers to create a more reliable data set – an important component of any study, and one that could be used by librarians who wish to perform a similar analysis on their own collections. Part 2 (to be published in the May News & Views) will include the findings of this study, which are informed by information from the Delta Think Open Access Data & Analytics Tool.

This study utilizes COUNTER usage data from twenty libraries [note: eight libraries are Carnegie Research 1 (or Doctoral Very High Research Activity) and 12 others range from R2 (or High Research Activity) down to small baccalaureate] – all chosen because they had Big Deals with the publishers used in this study. The study used two large publishers with a mix of gold, hybrid, and non-OA titles across a four to five year period (note: 2016-2020 and 2017-2020 respectively).

Using data about those two publishers from Delta Think, we see that open access publication is possible – via either gold or hybrid journals – across 85-95% of the publisher portfolio – slightly higher for Publisher 2 (Figure 1)….”

Neurosurgical publication – Should we publish at any cost? An in-depth analysis of costs incurred in publication. – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Objectives

With the recent paradigm shift in neurosurgical publications, open access (OA) publishing is burgeoning along with traditional publishing methods. We aimed to explore costs of publication across 53 journals.


We identified 53 journals publishing neurosurgical work. Journal type, submission and open access charges, colour print fees, impact indicators, publisher, and subscription prices were obtained from journal and publisher websites. Costs were unified in American Dollars. Mean prices per journal were used to equilibrate membership and subscription discounts. Correlations were performed using Spearman Rho (?), p<0.05.


Of the 53 journals, 12 are OA-only, 40 are hybrid, and 1 is traditional. 22 and 43 journals provide their submission costs by end of phase 1 and 2, respectively (prices always for phase 2; 26 free of charge, 4 under $500, and 1 under $1000). Median OA charge is $3286 (49 journals; range $0-$7827). 36 of the 53 journals did not list print fees for colour figures (29 in phase 2). Median fee estimate per figure is $422 (range $25-$1060). Median personal subscription for 1 year is $344 (range $60-$1158; 48 journals). Median institutional subscription for 1 year is $2082 (Range $38-$5510; 34 journals). There is mild positive correlation between journal impact factor and OA fees (?=0.287, p=0.046).


The lack of easily accessible information about Neurosurgical publications, such as submission costs, or OA charges create unnecessary hurdle and should be remedied. Publishing in Neurosurgery should be a pleasant learning experience for the cost anxiety should not be a limiting factor.

Commercialization challenges open science | European Journal of Public Health | Oxford Academic

“Open science is increasingly important not just within the research community, but also among decision-makers and citizens, the society at large. Recently, the UNESCO adopted a Recommendation on Open Science (2021),1 highlighting principles including open and equal access to research publications, data and methods. The recommendation further emphasizes that open science infrastructures ‘should be not-for-profit and guarantee permanent and unrestricted access to all public’ as well as function ‘in the global and public interest and without market dominance on the part of any commercial entity’. Open science is a positive trend fostering scientific development and extending equal access to knowledge and its production at all levels from individuals to the global scene.

Unfortunately, negative trends, too, have hit the scientific community, putting restrictions on open science. Public health research offers a case underlining the importance of promoting and safeguarding the principles of open science and combatting their violations….

The GHQ provides a good example of commercialization. The measure was adopted in the early 1970s and ever since it has been a major one in population studies on mental health and screening people with mental problems for treatment. However, a British commercial firm, Mapi Research Trust has acquired all rights for the GHQ and all users, be they academic, commercial or healthcare professionals, are equally subject to charges. Users need to register and buy a license. Additionally, a user fee is due, currently approximately 1 euro per each study participant. The firm does not announce details of the costs. The GHQ measure, managed by the Mapi Research Trust, contains literally the same questions as Goldberg’s original one from 1972.3 Thus, the private firm has not participated in the development of the instrument in any way. Its role is solely limited to marketing and collecting fees, which can amount to high sums. For example, if a study with 10?000 participants includes three commercialized measures repeated three times, its costs for using the measures only may rise up to 100?000 euros….”

Research Update: COIs, Defining Infrastructure, and Exploring Utility Financing as a Useful Model

The following is a brief summary of our current plans for Catalog of Infrastructures, our work understanding the nature of infrastructure, and our initial working models for understanding the funding and operation of infrastructure services.


Library perspective: balancing investments and sustainability in Open Access

“The team at COPIM recently shared your CommonPlace blog post “Balancing Investments in Open Access: Sustainability and Innovation”. We found it really interesting to see evidence of libraries grappling with how to evaluate the proliferation of new OA models. What has the response been to your article?

One response was that Sharla Lair and Curtis Brundy edited a series of articles in CommonPlace, called “The Global Transition to Open.” It was gratifying to see that other libraries are also struggling with some of the issues I mentioned in my piece–how to keep up with all of the new open publishing models, and how to choose which initiatives to support. One potential way to combat this, as Marco Tullney and others noted, is to develop established workflows and evaluation criteria. I thought Alexia Hudson-Ward made a particularly compelling case that DEIA should be a core component of any such criteria. 

I’m also intrigued by the fact that some libraries seem to have dedicated, separate budget lines for supporting open scholarly initiatives. At the same time, I’m not convinced that having a dedicated budget line would really make the decision making process and administrative issues easier for us at Temple, as Demmy Verkebe says it does at KU Leuven. And honestly, I worry that separating open from the rest of collections might prevent us from seeing the big picture around how exactly this transition should happen. …”

LYROpen Fair Session 3: Evaluating and Supporting | LYRASIS | Aviary

“How do you decide which open publications to support? Which open publications will most adequately reflect the values of your institution? And once you have made that decision, how do you justify supporting open content to your administration? During this session speakers from different institutions will discuss how they evaluate and advocate for financially supporting open content initiatives.”

Is Canada ready for open access? — University Affairs

“Canadian science could benefit enormously if all research articles in the country were made freely available to anyone immediately upon publication. But there are significant barriers that need to be overcome to achieve this.

Last year, 30 per cent of Canadian research was published as paid open access (OA). That’s slightly below the global average of 34 per cent but trailing many other high research output countries such as Sweden (54 per cent), Netherlands (50 per cent) and the United Kingdom (48 per cent), according to the database. As one of the top-quality research output countries in the world, according to Nature Index, Canada should be doing better. In our opinion, the fundamental reasons for the slow uptake of open access in Canada are (1) the lack of coordinated funding to support OA publishing, and (2) barriers that researchers face to publish in OA.

The Tri-Councils’ OA policy stipulates that any publications coming from research should be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. However, there is low compliance with this request. Researchers are expected to pay for open access via article publishing charges (APCs). As noted in the “Open Science Dialogues,” organized by the Office of the Chief Science Advisor (OCSA) to gain feedback on their Roadmap for Open Science, researchers are expected to pay these APCs from their research grants. Unfortunately, the APCs commanded by the high impact factor journals can represent an unfeasibly large percentage of the researchers’ total grant. APCs of US$5,000 to $10,000 are not uncommon for the prestige journals published by the large commercial publishers. But even the more moderate APCs of US$1,000 to $3,000 of lesser journals and those of not-for-profit publishers can also quickly deplete smaller research grants. For example, average NSERC grants in 2020 ranged from C$26,000 to $53,000, which leaves little room, if any, for the added expense of APCs….

The slow adoption of OA in Canada is probably not due to a lack of money per se. A back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of Canadian articles being published as OA multiplied by the average APCs (from publisher websites), suggests that C$30-40 million was spent on OA publishing last year, 80 per cent of which was spent with the large commercial publishers….

So can Canada achieve a national OA strategy? We believe so, but to overcome the barriers we need an approach that captures the following principles:

Unity: bring together all stakeholders in the scientific research enterprise to establish a unified front and determine priorities, requirements and challenges.
Coordination: to move beyond consultation, there is a need for a coordinating body to establish a path forward, timelines, funding needs and to organize this collaborative action.
Evidence: There is an immediate need to assess data on costs, sources of funds being allocated to subscriptions and APCs, trends in OA publishing outputs, and to determine if there is sufficient existing funding to support a full switch to OA….”

Information for publishers about the Open Access Community Framework

“We have developed the open access community framework (OACF) to provide an efficient way for publishers offering innovative open access (OA) content models to seek financial support from our institutional members. The OACF also reflects interest from our members in supporting a more diverse range of OA content providers and initiatives and aligns with our view that diversity is at the core of a well-functioning scholarly communication market. By presenting options via the framework the OACF helps institutions make strategic decisions about the use of their funds, e.g., OA or collections budgets, towards new content initiatives. We are piloting the OACF during 2022….”

Proposal for a Digital Services Act — Research, Education, and Science as Collateral Damage – LIBER Europe

“Schools and universities are highly reliant on the multiple digital platforms and infrastructures that provide services to students, teachers, and researchers. It is therefore surprising that the Digital Services Act (DSA) does not consider the impact that this new regulation will have on education and Open Science.

In fact, despite high levels of public investment in education and research, infrastructures (such as institutional and national repositories as well as platforms like Zenodo, the European Open Science Cloud, etc.), they do not feature at all in the European Commission’s impact assessment, nor are they mentioned in the draft Digital Services Act….”

Open access: Brazilian scientists denied waivers and discounts

“A study comparing open-access versus paywalled publications finds less geographical diversity among authors who choose open access (see Nature; 2022). This does not surprise us in Brazil, where article-processing charges (APCs) typically correspond to many months, or even years, of a scientist’s stipend. Yet we are not eligible for waivers or discounts under the open-access initiative Plan S (see, or for research-accessibility programmes such as Research4Life.

Both schemes support publications from low-income and lower-to-middle-income economies. Because Brazil is classed as an upper-middle-income economy, requests for APC waivers and discounts are generally turned down, in our experience. Many of us opt instead to publish behind paywalls. But that might not be possible after 2024, when Plan S transformative agreements will end and journals will transition to exclusively publishing open-access content….”

Surveillance Publishing · Elephant in the Lab

“Clarivate’s business model is coming for scholarly publishing. Google is one peer, but the company’s real competitors are Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE. Elsevier, in particular, has been moving into predictive analytics for years now. Of course the publishing giants have long profited off of academics and our university employers—by packaging scholars’ unpaid writing-and-editing labor only to sell it back to us as usuriously priced subscriptions or article processing charges (APCs). That’s a lucrative business that Elsevier and the others won’t give up. But they’re layering another business on top of their legacy publishing operations, in the Clarivate mold. The data trove that publishers are sitting on is, if anything, far richer than the citation graph alone.

Why worry about surveillance publishing? One reason is the balance sheet, since the companies’ trading in academic futures will further pad profits at the expense of taxpayers and students. The bigger reason is that our behavior—once alienated from us and abstracted into predictive metrics—will double back onto our work lives. Existing biases, like male academics’ propensity for self-citation, will receive a fresh coat of algorithmic legitimacy. More broadly, the academic reward system is already distorted by metrics. To the extent that publishers’ tallies and indices get folded into grant-making, tenure-and-promotion, and other evaluative decisions, the metric tide will gain power. The biggest risk is that scholars will internalize an analytics mindset, one already encouraged by citation counts and impact factors….”