Understanding differences of the OA uptake within the German university landscape (2010-2020). Part 1: journal-based OA

Abstract:  This study investigates the determinants for the uptake of Full and Hybrid Open Access (OA) in the university landscape of Germany. It adapts the governance equaliser as a heuristic for this purpose and distinguishes between three factors: The disciplinary profile (academic self-governance), infrastructures and services of universities that aim to support OA (managerial self-governance) and large transformative agreements (part of state regulation). The uptake of OA, the influence of the disciplinary profile of universities and the influence of transformative agreements is measured by combining several data sources (incl. Web of Science, Unpaywall, an authority file of standardised German affiliation information, the ISSN-Gold-OA 4.0 list, and lists of publications covered by transformative agreements). For managerial self-governance, a structured data collection was created by harvesting different sources of information and by manual online search. To determine the explanatory power of the different factors, a series of regression analyses was performed for different periods and for both Full as well as Hybrid OA. As a result of the regression analyses, the most determining factor for the explanation of differences in the uptake of both OA-types turned out to be academic self-governance. For the year 2020, Hybrid OA transformative agreements have become a second relevant factor. However, all variables that reflect local infrastructural support and services for OA (managerial self-governance) turned out to be non-significant. To deepen the understanding of the adoption of OA on the level of institutions, the outcomes of the regression analyses are contextualised by an interview study conducted with 20 OA officers of German universities.

 

A fair pricing model for open access – Research Professional News

“The average research grant in South Africa, excluding strategic and infrastructure investments, is approximately 146,000 rand (€8,500). In 2021, the average charge for publishing an open-access research paper was nearly €1,600. High-impact journals charge far more: €9,500 at Nature, for example.

Here, in a nutshell, is the inequity of the financial model of open-access publishing. As currently constituted, publishing charges are stifling research capability and progress, as well as the career progression of researchers in low- and middle-income countries, and preventing a full transition to open research.

We need to move towards a globally agreed payment system for academic publishing services that is fair, equitable, transparent, and does not require the author to pay. In this article, we sketch the outline of such an alternative payment system….

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent.

Admittedly, some researchers may apply for publishing fees to be waived, but there is no globally agreed way for publishers to handle waivers, and researchers working in middle-income countries tend not to be eligible for such support. Moreover, waivers are often perceived as patronising and neocolonial. They are an in-or-out mechanism unilaterally controlled by the publisher, denying any agency to recipients.

Asking for a waiver imposes significant effort on authors. Waivers are also a financial risk to publishers who are understandably reluctant to award them. A submission to a 2020 consultation by the UK foreign ministry calculated that 57 per cent of hybrid journals from major publishers, which offer both subscriptions and open access, and 70 per cent of open-access journals published by small independent or university presses, did not offer fee waivers or discounts. The most visible global initiative delivering waivers, Research4Life, reports that, while effective, usage of its resources remains limited and has declined.

The system for meeting the costs of academic publishing is globally inequitable. This was underscored by the landmark United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Recommendation on Open Science of November 2021, which insisted that scholarly communication adopt “the principles of open, transparent and equitable access”. The recent memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, setting out a plan for open access to federally funded research from 2026, adds ‘equitable’ as a third condition to the more familiar requirements for ‘free’ and ‘immediate’ access. Equitable open access has therefore assumed a particular urgency….”

Tracking Open Access Usage – ChronosHub

“Open Access usage is a complex topic. In this webinar, we’ll look at what metrics can be collected, and whether we should look at the data globally, or at an institutional level, possibly to evaluate affiliated institutions’ APC payments or open access agreements.

 

We will discuss the topic both from a publisher and a library perspective, with panelists sharing their experiences and opinion on the feasibility of conducting a usage-based analysis of open access articles to determine their value to institutions and libraries….”

Open Science Observatory – OpenAIRE Blog

“The Open Science Observatory (https://osobservatory.openaire.eu) is an OpenAIRE platform showcasing a collection of indicators and visualisations that help policy makers and research administrators better understand the Open Science landscape in Europe, across and within countries.  

The broader context: As the number of Open Science mandates have been increasing across countries and scientific fields, so has the need to track Open Science practices and uptake in a timely and granular manner. The Open Science Observatory assists the monitoring, and consequently the enhancing, of open science policy uptake across different dimensions of interest, revealing weak spots and hidden potential. Its release comes in a timely fashion, in order to support UNESCO’s global initiative for Open Science and the European Open Science Cloud (the current development and enhancement is co-funded by the EOSC Future H2020 project and will appear in the EOSC Portal).  …

How does it work: Based on the OpenAIRE Research Graph, following open science principles and an evidence-based approach, the Open Science Observatory provides simple metrics and more advanced composite indicators which cover various aspects of open science uptake such us

different openness metrics
FAIR principles
Plan S compatibility & transformative agreements
APCs

as well as measures related to the outcomes of Open Access research output as they relate to

network & collaborations
usage statistics and citations
Sustainable Development Goals

across and within European countries. ”

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

IEEE and CRUI Sign Three-Year Transformative Agreement to Accelerate Open Access Publishing in Italy

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, announced today that it has reached an unlimited read and publish open access agreement with the Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane (CRUI), the association of state and non-state Italian universities, to support authors who choose to publish open access.

Under this new three-year agreement, all researchers from the participating 54 Italian institutions are now able to publish open access articles in approximately 200 leading journals and magazines published by IEEE, making them instantly available and free to read by the public and helping support CRUI’s mission to make their authors’ publications open to the world. Under the terms of the agreement, the costs of both accessing subscription content and the article processing charges (APCs) required to publish open access are covered by the license fees paid by consortium members, making the process easier and more convenient for authors.

A Critical Examination of the OSTP Memo | By Every Means Necessary

by Dave Ghamandi, also available via https://doi.org/10.17613/ejk2-ys30

“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories . . .”

-Amilcar Cabral

INTRODUCTION

Open access (OA) takes many forms. It can be the product of voluntary associations that are cooperative and mutually supportive. It can result from the “free market,” where Springer Nature charges an $11,000+ article processing charge (APC) to make a single article OA. It can also be produced through a regulatory-compliance-and-punishment system. The latter is what’s found in the new Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo issued on August 25, 2022.[1] The OSTP’s stated aims in the memo give anti-imperialists much to be concerned about, especially as the biden administration previously justified increasing public access to federally-funded research as a way of battling China in a new Cold War. Those of us in the belly of the beast—the u.s. empire—have an obligation to develop, share, and act upon a critical analysis of the OSTP memo. This analysis is rooted in the historical and present-day evidence that the executive branch manages a corporately-controlled state and is not accustomed to giving gifts to the working class. I attempt to explain and predict in this essay.

[…]

 

Springer Nature and Projekt DEAL extend partnership | Research Information

In 2019 Springer Nature and Germany’s Projekt DEAL signed what was at the time the world’s largest, most comprehensive, transformative agreement (TA). Encompassing 2,500 journals with the expectation of enabling 13,000 articles to be published open access (OA) each year, it reflected the commitment of both parties to the principles of open science and advancing the transition to OA.

The success of the agreement can be seen in that 97% of affiliated authors with eligible universities and institutions in Germany took advantage of the opportunity to publish their articles OA without needing to pay an article processing charge. In addition, in 2021 the agreement saw over 16,000 (+13% on 2020) new research articles in Springer Nature’s fully OA and hybrid journals made freely and openly accessible for scholars everywhere – 60% of all the articles published under DEAL agreements (1).

[…]

Open access agreement for Egypt | Open research | Springer Nature

“Starting 01 January 2022, if you are a corresponding author affiliated with a participating Egyptian institution, you may be eligible to publish open access in our journals with fees covered under a Transformative Agreement plus fully OA agreement. 

This agreement will cover all the public, private and national universities, as well as the research centers related to the ministry of higher education and scientific research and all other governmental ministries in Egypt. …”

Zero Embargo | Clarke & Esposito

“A scenario that has been on the minds of publishers over the past decade (and incorporated into strategic planning scenarios by many publishers) is the possibility of “zero embargo.” In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued policy guidance to agencies in the form of the OSTP memorandum on “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” (the “2013 Memorandum,” also widely referred to as the “Holdren Memo” because it was issued by John Holdren, at the time the Director of OSTP). The Holdren Memo directed federal agencies in the US with annual research and development budgets of more than $100 million to develop access policies to ensure public access to federally funded research. While the Holdren Memo provided wide latitude to agencies on many of the specifics, the memo put forth a 12-month post-publication embargo period as a guideline. By “post-publication embargo period,” the Holdren Memo was referring to the period between publication of an article resulting from funded research in a journal and the freely accessible public release of that journal article in the form of either the author accepted manuscript (AAM) or the final published version of record (VOR). 

OSTP is an office of the White House and as such sets policy on behalf of the US President. The US federal agencies—including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and so on—are part of the Executive Branch and therefore under White House oversight. Any OSTP policy can be revised by a subsequent administration, and one possibility has always been that the 12-month post-publication embargo could be shortened, potentially to zero. Indeed, such a scenario almost occurred during the Trump administration when such a memorandum was drafted, though it was never ultimately issued.  

Rumors have been circulating for months that the Biden administration has been reviewing the Holdren Memo as part of a wider review of open science policy. Last week, Alondra Nelson (currently heading OSTP) issued a memorandum titled “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” (the “2022 Memorandum, or the “Nelson Memo”). The Nelson Memo is accompanied by an impact statement titled “Economic Landscape of Federal Public Access Policy” (the “2022 Impact Statement”), which was submitted to Congress pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022. The 2022 Memorandum directs federal agencies to develop policies that will require free public release of research articles upon publication, and that all supporting research data behind the articles be similarly made immediately and freely available.

The zero embargo scenario has arrived….”

Cell Press and The Lancet titles now included in UC-Elsevier open access publishing agreement

Beginning September 1, 2022, UC corresponding authors publishing in Elsevier’s prestigious Cell Press and The Lancet journals will be able to publish their articles as open access with financial support from the UC libraries. Cell Press publishes 50 scientific journals in the life, physical, earth, and health sciences. The Lancet is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals.

Open Access Challenges for Small Publishers – ChronosHub

“How is Open Access affecting small publishers, including learned societies and independent presses? Are they influenced by funder mandates in the same way as bigger publishers? Do they have established relationships with libraries? Are read & publish agreements possible for small presses, or do other business models and initiatives work better?

In this webinar, our guest speakers will share their experiences on these topics and discuss challenges faced in making Open Access a reality….”

An interview with Delia Mihaila of MDPI – DOAJ News Service

“In 2022, MDPI is supporting DOAJ at the Sustaining Level, a contribution made at a level that recognises the need to properly support open access infrastructure. We last caught up with MDPI in 2018 and a lot has changed. We sent Delia some questions about what’s moving in the MDPI world….”